American music icon Ronnie Spector died Wednesday at the age of 78, Fox News reported.
Spector, who was the lead singer of the pop rock girl group the Ronettes, died after a brief battle with cancer, her family said in a statement.
“Our beloved earth angel, Ronnie, peacefully left this world today after a brief battle with cancer,” they said. “She was with family and in the arms of her husband, Jonathan.”
“Ronnie lived her life with a twinkle in her eye, a spunky attitude, a wicked sense of humor and a smile on her face,” the statement added. “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.”
“Nothing excites me more”
According to the Associated Press, Spector, born Veronica Bennett, grew up in Washington Heights, Manhattan, in New York City, where she began singing and dancing with her sister and cousin, Estelle Bennett and Nedra Talley, respectively.
The group eventually became known as the Ronettes and hit it big in 1963 with songs like “Be My Baby” and “Baby I Love You.” They recorded several other hits before parting ways in 1967.
“Nothing excites me more than just being onstage, having fun and flirting and winking to the guys and stuff like that,” Spector said in a 2017 interview, according to the AP. “I just have so much fun. It’s just the best feeling when I go out and they say, ‘Ladies and gentlemen…’ — my heart stops for a minute — ‘…Ronnie Spector and the Ronettes!'”
A year after the music group broke up, Ronnie married Phil Spector, a songwriter and manager for the band who was later sent to prison for murdering Lana Clarkson, according to the AP. In her autobiography, Ronnie Spector said her relationship with Phil was plagued with abuse. The couple divorced in 1974.
Phil Spector died behind bars in 2021, the AP reported.
Hall of Famer
According to Rolling Stone, Ronnie Spector attained icon status as the Ronettes helped pave the way for other girl groups to achieve popularity in the music industry.
The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.
After the group broke up, Ronnie Spector continued performing live and was releasing music as recently as 2016, the AP reported.