The world has lost yet another musical icon today, at what many consider the too-young age of 63: Donna Summer.
(Image courtesy of Wikimedia)
Often known as the “Queen of Disco,” Summer was celebrated for hits such as “Bad Girls,” “Hot Stuff,” and “She Works Hard For the Money” and was a five-time Grammy winner. Her most recent album, “Crayons” was released in 2008. She stayed active in the music world, and even appeared on American Idol, and more recently America’s Got Talent.
Summer and her family kept her illness extremely quiet. In fact, many of those who worked closely with her report that they didn’t even know she was sick.
At the time of her passing, Summer was living in Englewood, Florida with her husband, former Brooklyn Dreams singer Bruce Sudano.
Little is known about the exact type of lung cancer Summer suffered from, or the cause. Celebrity entertainment news source, TMZ, reports that several sources attribute Summer’s cancer to the toxic particles left in and around New York City after the 9/11 attacks. That has not been confirmed, however.
Lung cancer is the deadliest type of cancer for both men and women. In fact, each year more people die from lung cancer than breast, colon, and prostate cancers combined.
Most people associate smoking tobacco with lung cancer. And while that’s a major contributor to the disease, it’s not the only one. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, The following may also increase your risk for lung cancer:
- Exposure to cancer-causing chemicals such as uranium, beryllium, vinyl chloride, nickel chromates, coal products, mustard gas, chloromethyl ethers, gasoline, and diesel exhaust
- Family history of lung cancer
- High levels of air pollution
- High levels of arsenic in drinking water
- Radiation therapy to the lungs
- Radon gas
Secondhand smoke can also be a major factor, and it’s estimated that 3,000 nonsmoking adults will die each year from lung cancer related to breathing secondhand smoke.
The Queen of Disco, Remembered
Like other icons that have gone before her, Donna Summer will not soon be forgotten. In a statement from her record label, Universal Music, that sentiment was aptly put: “While we grieve her passing, we are at peace celebrating her extraordinary life and her continued legacy.”
R.I.P. Queen of Disco.
"Lung Cancer." NLM.gov. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 24 Aug. 2011. Web. 17 May 2012.
"Donna Summer Dead: Her Voice Soared Through Disco and Beyond." LATimes.com. Los Angeles Times, 17 May 2012. Web. 17 May 2012.
"Donna Summer, Disco Queen, Dead at 63." CBSNews.com. CBS News, 17 May 2012. Web. 17 May 2012.
"Donna Summer Dead at 63." TMZ.com. TMZ, 17 May 2012. Web. 17 May 2012.