Oscar and Grammy winning musician Irene Cara has died at the age of 63, her publicist has said. Cara was best known for singing and co-writing the track Flashdance… What A Feeling, for which she won an Academy Award as well as two Grammy Awards. She also portrayed the character of Coco Hernandez in the 1980 musical film Fame.
Her publicist Judith Moose announced the news in a statement released on Cara’s official Twitter account on Saturday morning. Ms Moose said Cara passed away in her Florida home and the cause of death is not yet known.
“It is with profound sadness that on behalf of her family I announce the passing of Irene Cara,” she wrote. “The Academy Award winning actress, singer, songwriter, and producer passed away in her Florida home. Her cause of death is currently unknown and will be released when information is available.
“Irene’s family has requested privacy as they process their grief. She was a beautifully gifted soul whose legacy will live forever through her music and films. Funeral services are pending and a memorial for her fans will be planned at a future date.”
The publicist also asked people to share their thoughts and memories of the singer, adding: “I’ll be reading each and every one of them and know she’ll be smiling from Heaven. She adored her fans.” Cara, who was born in the Bronx, New York City, in 1959, worked in television and theatre before landing the lead role in the 1976 musical drama Sparkle.
What has her family said?
In response to online speculation about the cause of Irene Cara’s death, her family used her official Twitter account to issue the following statement:
“To everyone who has taken the time to express their grief, thank you. For those who are posting spam about cryptocurrencies, please stop. For those who are blaming a vaccine for her death, please don't. We don't have medical answers yet and won't until an autopsy is completed.”
Who is Irene Cara and what was she famous for?
Cara catapulted to international fame for her performance in Fame, for which she garnered a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress. Her famous Flashdance song also won her an Oscar for Best Original Song and two Grammy awards for Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or A Television Special and for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
With Flashdance, she became the first black woman to receive an Oscar in a non-acting category and the youngest recipient of a songwriting Oscar. The song What A Feeling went to No 1 in the US charts, knocking David Bowie’s Let’s Dance off the top spot. It featured on her album What a Feelin’, produced by Moroder, and spawned further hit singles Why Me? and Breakdance.