updated 05/17/2012 AT 12:30 PM ET
•originally published 05/17/2012 AT 12:10 PM ET
Donna Summer, whose pulsating hits “I Feel Love,” “Last Dance” and “MacArthur Park” provided the disco soundtrack for the 1970s, has died at age 63.
Her family confirmed Summer’s death, saying in a statement that they “are at peace celebrating her extraordinary life and her continued legacy.”
“Words truly can’t express how much we appreciate your prayers and love for our family at this sensitive time,” the statement continued.
A onetime backup singer for Three Dog Night, Summer, who was born LaDonna Gaines, hit the American charts with the sexually charged “Love to Love You Baby,” released in 1975 amid controversy that it was too steamy for radio. The song gained popularity, though, and became a huge favorite in discotheques.
The five-time Grammy winner went on to release a string of dance-friendly songs whose overt sexuality clashed with Summer’s strict Christian upbringing in a family of seven children in Boston.
“I Feel Love” became a top 10 single in 1977 and her disco interpretation of the ballad “MacArthur Park” in 1978 was her first number one song. “Last Dance” from the Thank God It’s Friday soundtrack earned Summer her first Grammy.