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Ronnie Spector, lead singer of the legendary girl group the Ronettes, dies age 78

Rebecca Lewis
Rebecca Lewis - Los Angeles
ReporterLos Angeles
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Ronnie Spector, the lead singer of the legendary girl group the Ronettes, has died at the age of 78. The rock icon's family confirmed the news, revealing she had had a "brief battle with cancer".

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"Our beloved earth angel, Ronnie, peacefully left this world today after a brief battle with cancer," her family shared. "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. She was filled with love and gratitude."

WATCH: The Ronettes perform Be My Baby at  2007 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony

It continued: "Her joyful sound, playful nature and magical presence will live on in all who knew, heard or saw her."

Her family asked that in lieu of flowers, and per Spector's request, donations be made to local women's shelters or to the American Indian College Fund.

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The Beach Boys' star Brian Wilson tweeted in rememberance: "I loved her voice so much and she was a very special person and a dear friend."

Fans were quck to share their tributes with one writing: "RIP to Ronnie Spector, rock goddess and one of my favorite vocalists of all time." "She was the epitome of cool. One of the first black girls of rock n roll. We can only aspire to be like her. Rest In Power, Ronnie Spector. You were everything," tweeted another.


Ronnie has died after a battle with cancer

Ronnie, born Veronica Bennet, formed the Ronettes with her sister Estelle and cousin Nedra while still a teenager in the 1960s, and although they only released one album their influence continued on, and in 2007 they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

They toured with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, and found a place among the rock and roll greats.

"We weren’t afraid to be hot. That was our gimmick," Ronnie wrote in her memoir. "When we saw The Shirelles walk on stage with their wide party dresses, we went in the opposite direction and squeezed our bodies into the tightest skirts we could find. Then we’d get out on stage and hike them up to show our legs even more."

Their hits included Baby, I Love You, Walking in the Rain, I Can Hear Music and Be My Baby.


Ronnie formed the Ronettes with her sister Estelle and cousin Nedra

She was also a survivor of domestic violence and spent years trying to recuperate the income she lost from her husband Phil Spector, who signed her to his label.

For years he subjected her to years of abuse, and she fled the house in 1972 barefoot and with no belongings. In their divorce settlement chose to forfeit all future record earnings after he threatened to have her murdered.

She tried to rebuild her career in the years after but he hired lawyers to prevent her singing her classic hit songs and denied her royalties.

romnnie keith

Ronnie with friend Keith Richards

When he died in 2021 she said: "I said many times while he was alive, he was a brilliant producer, but a lousy husband.

"Unfortunately Phil was not able to live and function outside of the recording studio. Darkness set in, many lives were damaged."

Ronnie was mom to five children; three adopted children with Phil and two children whom she welcoemd with husband Jonathan Greenfield.

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