Donna Summer, the iconic Queen of Disco, passed away on May 17, 2012, after battling lung cancer. Her family released a statement announcing her death and expressing their appreciation for the support and prayers they received during that difficult time. Despite rumors attributing her cancer to smoking, her family denied these claims and stated that the specific details of her diagnosis and treatment were private matters between the family and her medical team.
Donna Summer believed her lung cancer might have been caused by the emotional distress she experienced following the 9/11 attacks. Living in downtown Manhattan at the time, she felt deeply affected by the events and secluded herself, finding solace in her faith. She expressed that the heaviness she felt lifted after she went to church and regained a sense of lightness in her soul.
Following her passing, numerous musicians paid tribute to Donna Summer and celebrated her musical legacy. Elton John expressed his disappointment that she had not been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, describing it as a disgrace. Kylie Minogue regarded Summer as one of her earliest musical inspirations, and Liza Minnelli fondly remembered her as the Queen of disco, stating that her music would be enjoyed forever.
Donna Summer’s induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame came posthumously in 2013, with her family accepting the honor on her behalf. The documentary “Love to Love You, Donna Summer,” directed by her daughter Brooklyn Sudano and Oscar winner Roger Ross Williams, offers a personal and comprehensive portrayal of Donna Summer’s life and artistry. It includes rare home video footage and photographs that shed light on the range of her talent and explores the highs and lows of her career.
Brooklyn Sudano, in an interview, expressed the emotional journey of creating the documentary and her pride in showcasing her mother as a complex and multi-dimensional artist, moving beyond her role as a figurehead of a particular movement.
Donna Summer’s enduring legacy as a groundbreaking artist and the Queen of Disco continues to inspire and captivate music fans worldwide.