The Ronettes star Ronnie Spector has died at the age of 78.
The singer, who found fame with songs including Be My Baby and Walking in the Rain, passed away on Wednesday following a “brief battle with cancer”.
“Ronnie lived her life with a twinkle in her eye, a spunky attitude, a wicked sense of humour and a smile on her face,” her family said in a statement. “She was filled with love and gratitude. Her joyful sound, playful nature and magical presence will live on in all who knew, heard or saw her.”
Born Veronica Bennett, the New York native formed the Ronettes with her sister Estelle and cousin Nedra Talley in 1957. She fronted the girl group, while record producer Phil Spector oversaw the majority of their output, which also included Baby, I Love You and (The Best Part of) Breakin’ Up, before the group officially split in 1967.
Ronnie, who was married to Phil from 1968 until 1974 and shared three adopted sons with him, launched her solo career in 1964 with her single So Young, and went on to release five more albums.
She married manager Jonathan Greenfield, with whom she shared two sons, in 1982.
In 2007, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Ronettes.
Following the sad news, members of the music industry took to social media to pay tribute to the star.
“RIP Ronnie Spector. The iconic voice of the Ronettes. I was proud to have spent some time with Ronnie at A&M Studios, listening to her tell stories about the early years of rock ‘n roll. She will be missed,” wrote KISS rocker Gene Simmons on Twitter, while Beach Boys star Brian Wilson added: “I just heard the news about Ronnie Spector and I don’t know what to say. I loved her voice so much and she was a very special person and a dear friend. This just breaks my heart. Ronnie’s music and spirit will live forever. Love & Mercy, Brian.”
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