Donna Summer | News

Disco Queen Donna Summer Dead At 63

RIPDonnaSummerDonna Summer, the singer whose classics 'I Feel Love' and 'Last Dance' were the soundtrack for millions of disco-goers, has died.

TMZ reported this morning that 63-year old Summer passed after a battle with cancer.

Despite being loved by many gays for her hits, Summer had a complicated history with the LGBT community. In 1980, she reportedly told a crowd of gay people in her audience.

"I've seen the evil homosexuality come out of you people... AIDS is your sin," The Advocate quoted her as saying. "Now don't get me wrong; God loves you. But not the way you are now," she allegedly said. Years later, in 1989, she denied making the remarks. It was "a terrible misunderstanding," she wrote in a letter to ACT UP.

"If I have caused you pain, forgive mea terrible misunderstanding. I was unknowingly protected by those around me from the bad press and hate letters... If I have caused you pain, forgive me."

AFTER THE JUMP, one of Summer's greatest hits, "She Works Hard For The Money."

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  1. the disco ball in heaven just got a little brighter...She made 1979-80 bearable for a terrified gay boy in Montana

    Posted by: bozemanmontana | May 17, 2012 12:44:11 PM

  2. Back in the day, I loved to love you, Donna. RIP.

    Posted by: Michael in Toronto | May 17, 2012 12:47:08 PM

  3. Sad. (Fix that first year, you've got 1990 as the year she was alleged to have made the remarks.)

    Posted by: Matthew Rettenmund | May 17, 2012 12:47:09 PM

  4. There is a time for everything. Could you not let go even briefly of the rancor, real or imagined, and just mourn the passing of a strong cultural symbol of the past for many of your readers?

    Posted by: carl | May 17, 2012 12:48:13 PM

  5. So sad. I was just listening to her this AM while doing the elliptical. This was the soundtrack to my teens/early 20's. One of the best concerts I ever saw. :-(

    Posted by: Ernest1960 | May 17, 2012 12:50:39 PM

  6. She has REPEATEDLY stoood up for gay people and people with HIV/AIDS over the years. This ugly rumour started when someone confused donna summer with gloria gaynor who is openly homophobic and will tell anyone with ears.

    shame on your towleroad

    Posted by: prince | May 17, 2012 12:52:17 PM

  7. regardless of those rumors, she brought a lot more smiles than tears to the lgbt community

    very sad to hear this today - fell in love with her when I was a little kid

    Posted by: neverstops | May 17, 2012 12:54:54 PM

  8. a piece of my youth has been ripped away.

    Posted by: alguien | May 17, 2012 12:55:02 PM

  9. The irony of her passing on what is also a day against homophobia can't be ignored. But while her path to the church was a way past the madness at her then record label Casablanca, she did settle in the center of the extremes.

    Posted by: kravitz | May 17, 2012 12:57:29 PM

  10. What Donna Summer music meant to me growing up I could never really put into words. I was just a young terrified gay boy growing up in the Pentecostal Wasteland and somehow her music was a lifeline. Her record was my prized possession.

    Posted by: Mickey | May 17, 2012 1:07:41 PM

  11. Andrew--you wrote the wrong article today. At moments like this, please ask yourself "What would Andy write?"

    Posted by: Jeff NYC | May 17, 2012 1:07:52 PM

  12. Such sad news. Before I even understood what being gay meant, I found happiness in her music. RIP

    Posted by: Matt | May 17, 2012 1:09:08 PM

  13. The first NY Times article appeared in 1981, and the term AIDS was not used until years later.

    Posted by: t | May 17, 2012 1:09:37 PM

  14. Rest In Peace.

    Posted by: Wilberforce | May 17, 2012 1:10:12 PM

  15. Wow, I didn't know Donna Summer predicted AIDS back in 1980!

    Posted by: Feral | May 17, 2012 1:10:57 PM

  16. ANDY and editors, you've got to correct this assertion before it's picked up and run by other news sources. "AIDS" was not a known word in 1980; you should know better. The story, however misunderstood in its time, is also being misreported here. Correct with haste!

    Posted by: GMB | May 17, 2012 1:13:47 PM

  17. I haven't even thought about her in years. Funny how time fades all fame.

    Posted by: Ken | May 17, 2012 1:14:18 PM

  18. Big heartbreak for the gay community and the world. According to relatives and other news reports Donna believed she contracted lung cancer from the air she breathed in during the 9/11 NY City attack. It could also be surmised that she contracted it from all the second hand smoke she endured during those nightclub appearances.

    Shocked that the women was in her 60's! How can that be? So sad and her death came from out of the blue.

    Posted by: OS2Guy | May 17, 2012 1:15:28 PM

  19. "No More Tears (Enough is Enough)" Streisand and Summer duet...the best!

    Posted by: VDUFFORD | May 17, 2012 1:17:09 PM

  20. I've been dumbfounded since hearing of her passing this morning. I loved her and I love her music. She will be missed and I'll be listening to that beautiful voice all day today.

    Posted by: Bobby | May 17, 2012 1:26:54 PM

  21. Her music was a part of my life. No matter how she really felt about us, she brought us together and she brought us joy, and we made her a success. A pretty good deal all the way around. RIP Donna.

    Posted by: Jack M | May 17, 2012 1:29:10 PM

  22. Donna Summer: “God Made Adam and Eve, Not Adam and Steve”

    Posted by: Jacques Rosas | May 17, 2012 1:33:24 PM

  23. I haven't even thought about her in years. Funny how time fades all fame.

    by: Ken,

    True. Time doesn't stand still for anybody.

    R.I.P. Ms. Summer

    Posted by: ratbastard | May 17, 2012 1:35:36 PM

  24. Dear God was this little gay boy head over heals in love with this woman.
    Sing with Angels Donna!

    Posted by: Giovanni | May 17, 2012 1:38:17 PM

  25. She was the queen of disco, but I never warmed up to "She Works Hard for the Money" and her career nosedived after that anyway. It wasn't until the 90's that dance music became super popular again, after grunge came and went. A retrospective on her career would be a good TV movie or two.

    Posted by: anon | May 17, 2012 1:38:50 PM

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