Who Was Donna Summer and What Was Her Cause of Death?

Legendary singer Donna Summer was widely known for her disco hits in the ’70s.

Summer passed away in May 2012 and here’s everything we know about the musician.

Singer Donna Summer was widely considered the queen of disco for her music within the genre


Singer Donna Summer was widely considered the queen of disco for her music within the genrePhoto credit: Getty Images

Who Was Donna Summer?

Donna Adrian Gaines, commonly known as Donna Summer, was born on December 31, 1948 in Boston, Massachusetts.

In the ’60s, Donna joined a rock band as the lead singer, prompting the artist to move to New York City.

Towards the end of the decade, in 1968, Summer moved to Germany to star in the German adaptation of Hair.

In Europe, Summer ventured into disco music, creating hits like “I Feel Love” and “Love to Love You Baby.”

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In 1976, the Boston native returned to the United States, where she continues to make music, including her popular disco hit “Last Dance.”

Because of her success in the genre, Summer was named Queen of Disco.

Over the course of her music career, Donna has won five Grammy Awards and six American Music Awards.

What was her cause of death?

On May 17, 2012, Summer passed away after a silent battle with lung cancer.

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Summer believed her cancer came from inhaling the toxic dust from the September 11 attacks.

Although she was not in the towers, her home was close enough to face the dangerous consequences.

After her death, her family released a statement that said, “Early this morning we lost Donna Summer Sudano, a woman of many gifts, the greatest being her faith.”

“As we mourn her passing, we celebrate in peace her extraordinary life and enduring legacy. Words really cannot express how much we appreciate your prayers and love for our family at this sensitive time.”

Summer is survived by her longtime husband, Bruce Sudano, and their three children, Mimi Dohler, Brooklyn Sudano, and Amanda Sudano.

Donna Summer died at the age of 63 from a silent battle with lung cancer


Donna Summer died at the age of 63 from a silent battle with lung cancerPhoto credit: Wireimage

How can I watch Love to Love You, Donna Summer?

To celebrate the life and artistic work of Donna Summer, HBO released a documentary about the artist on May 20, 2023.

The documentary was co-directed by her daughter Amanda with Roger Ross Williams.

The website Describing the documentary, “The film is a deeply personal portrait of Summer on and off stage, and includes a wealth of stills and never-before-seen home video footage – often shot by Summer himself.”

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“Through an immersive look at the surprising breadth of her artistic practice, from songwriting to painting, Donna Summer’s Love to Love You explores the ups and downs of life on the global stage.”

The documentary is available on HBO and available to stream on HBO Max.


CELINE CASTRONUOVO is a Dailynationtoday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. CELINE CASTRONUOVO joined Dailynationtoday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: celine@dailynationtoday.com.

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