The iconic Queen of Disco whose career spanned four decades, Donna Summer passed away on May 17, 2012, at her home in Naples, Florida, from lung cancer at the age of 63. After so many years, music fans are still eager to know the actual cause of her death after a successful career that earned her multiple number-one hits and five Grammy Awards.
More than a decade after her death, a new perspective of ”The Last Dance” singer comes in the form of a documentary. This documentary is directed by Summer’s daughter Brooklyn Sudano and Oscar winner Roger Ross Williams.
Her first hit came in 1975 with Love To Love You Baby and continued with Last Dance, Heaven Knows, On The Radio, and many more. All the songs were the signature of the glamour of the disco era. Her last Grammy Award came in 1997 when she took the prize for the best dance recording for her single, Carry On.
How did Donna Summer die?
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Donna Summer died on May 17, 2012, after a battle with lung cancer. Being a nonsmoker, Summer theorized that her cancer had been caused by inhaling toxic fumes and dust from the September 11 attacks in New York.
She was in her apartment near ground zero when the attacks occurred. ”I was really freaked out by the horrific experiences of that day,” she said of the experience, ”I couldn’t go out; I didn’t want to talk to anybody. Also, I had to keep the blinds down and stay in my bedroom. I went to church and light came back into my soul. That heaviness was gone.”
There are some reports that Summer’s cancer was due to her smoking during her younger years. Also, her continued exposure to second-hand smoke while performing in clubs well after she had quit can also lead to severe disease. Other than that, genes play an important role in the predisposition to cancer, which was prevalent in her family.
However, the family denied the cause of smoking that was surfacing on the internet for Donna’s death. Representative Brian Edward also stated that the exact details of Summer’s disease, diagnosis, and subsequent treatment were between the family and the team of doctors.
Donna Summer was survived by her husband, Bruce Sudano, and three daughters.
Summer’s funeral service
Donna Summer’s funeral service was held in Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee, on the afternoon of May 23, 2012. The family and close friends didn’t reveal the exact location and time of the service.
According to reports, several hundreds of Summer’s friends and relatives attended her funeral. Well, the cameras were not allowed inside the church as Summer’s funeral was kept a private ceremony. Furthermore, she was interred in the Harpeth Hills Memory Gardens cemetery in Nashville.
Reaction to Donna Summer’s death
The entire music industry around the globe reacted to Summer’s death. Liza Minnelli said, ”She was a queen, The Queen Of Disco, and we will be dancing to her music forever.” She said her ”thoughts and prayers are with the family forever.”
Janet Jackson wrote that Summer ”changed the world of music with her beautiful voice and incredible talent.” Quincy Jones wrote that Summer’s voice was ”the heartbeat and soundtrack of a generation.”
Aretha Franklin said, ”It’s so shocking to hear about the passing of Donna Summer. In the 1970s, she reigned over the disco era and kept the disco jumping. Who will forget the ‘Last Dance’? A fine performer and a very nice person.”
Giving a lot of respect and love, Lenny Kravitz wrote, ”Rest in peace Donna, you are a pioneer and you have paved the way for many of us. You transcended race and genre. Respect. Lenny.”
— Donna Summers Death (@DSummerssupport) May 18, 2012
Celebrities like Beyonce, David Foster, Natasha Bedingfield, and many more honored Summer and paid tribute to the family after her death. US President Barack Obama also expressed his and his wife’s sadness. Fans paid tribute to Summer by leaving flowers and memorabilia on her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Further, a few days after her death, Summer’s album sales increased by 3,277%, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Also, Billboard magazine reported that the week before she died, Summer sold about 1,000 albums. after her death, that number increased to 26,000.
Donna Summer’s recent documentary
Love To Love You, Donna Summer is a 2023 American documentary film that follows the life and career of Donna Summer. It is directed by Brooklyn Sudano and Roger Ross Williams. The film had its world premiere at the 73rd Berlin International Film Festival on February 17, 2023, and was released by HBO on May 20, 2023.
“Love to Love You, Donna Summer” documentary premieres at 8pm ET on HBO. #LovetoLoveYouDoc
— Rated R&B (@RatedRnB) May 20, 2023
The audience has given positive reviews on the documentary film. It received an IMDb rating of 7/10 and Rotten Tomatoes gave the film 80%. The film gave her fans a real insight into some of her struggles and how she dealt with them.
After the release of the documentary film, fans are remembering the legendary singer. The Queen of Disco is certainly their ”Queen of Hearts”!