See All of Donna Summer's Best Throwback Photos from Her Younger Years

The late 'Hot Stuff' singer will be celebrated with a lifetime achievement honor at the 2024 Grammy Awards

<p>Rainer Binder/ullstein bild via Getty</p> Donna Summer

Rainer Binder/ullstein bild via Getty

Donna Summer

Donna Summer's legacy as the Queen of Disco lives on.

The singer — who died from lung cancer in 2012 — influenced and shaped several genres of sound, starting with the dance music she defined in the 1970s and early '80s. Summer's high-energy hits blasted through the nightlife scene, first dominating charts abroad in Europe before sweeping venues stateside as well.

As 2024 Grammy Awards honor Summer with a lifetime achievement award, look back at a young Donna Summer in throwback photos from her career's heyday.

A New Sound

<p>GAB Archive/Redferns</p> Donna Summer

GAB Archive/Redferns

Donna Summer

The Queen of Disco initially made her name singing backup for the rock band Three Dog Night in the early '70s. The gig got her in the studio and in front of impressed producers who offered her a solo record deal in 1974.

Summer's groovy debut album Lady of the Night made her an instant star — especially in Europe — though the best of her career was still yet to come.

Summer Time

<p>Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage</p> Donna Summer

Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage

Donna Summer

Summer broke onto the American scene in 1975 with “Love to Love You Baby,” the sexually-charged single off her album of the same name. The song remained at no. 2 on Billboard's Hot 100 charts for two weeks, becoming the singer's first top 40 hit.

Hit Maker

<p>Robin Platzer/Images/Getty</p> Donna Summer

Robin Platzer/Images/Getty

Donna Summer

She soared through the latter half of the decade with several more monster hits; her songs “I Feel Love," “Bad Girls," “Hot Stuff" and her cover of "MacArthur Park” were just a few anthems that soundtracked the disco scene over which Summer reigned.

Decorated Career

<p>Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty</p> Donna Summer

Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty

Donna Summer

Summer took home five Grammy Awards over the course of her lifetime, starting with her win for best female R&B performance with "Last Dance" in 1978. She won her fifth and final Grammy for "Carry On," her duet with longtime collaborator Giorgio Moroder.

Lady of Many Talents

<p>Michael Ochs Archives/Getty</p> Donna Summer

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

Donna Summer

"Last Dance" featured in the 1978 film Thank God It's Friday, which starred Summer as an aspiring disco singer alongside Jeff Goldblum. In addition to the Grammy win, the song also took home a Golden Globe and an Oscar for Best Original Song.

Raising a Family

<p>Anwar Hussein/Getty</p> Donna Summer

Anwar Hussein/Getty

Donna Summer

By the early '80s, Summer was more than a singer – she was also a mother to three daughters. She welcomed her eldest, Mimi Dohler, with her first husband, Helmuth Sommer, in 1973.

Six years later, the couple split and Summer married Bruce Sudano, with whom she shares daughters Brooklyn and Amanda Sudano, born in 1981 and 1982, respectively.

Strong-Willed Songbird

<p>Chris Walter/WireImage</p> Donna Summer

Chris Walter/WireImage

Donna Summer

In 2023, Summer's youngest daughter spoke to PEOPLE about her mother's final years battling lung cancer before her death in 2012.

"My mom was always so strong and so direct about how she wanted to do things. I think it was the first time where she allowed me to step up and care for her in a different way, and receive it. We're both really strong-willed," said Brooklyn, who co-directed the HBO documentary Love to Love You, Donna Summer.

Beauty Embodied

<p>Fin Costello/Redferns</p> Donna Summer

Fin Costello/Redferns

Donna Summer

Brooklyn told PEOPLE that the documentary — which was released in May 2023 — offers a glimpse into Summer's personal world at home.

"When you see my mom in those unguarded moments, she's super funny, silly and very creative. Our life was, until the day she died, about creation," the singer's youngest said. "Everything was about creating a beautiful flower arrangement or a beautiful meal or a beautiful home. Her sensibility was as a true artist, always to be creating, always to make something more beautiful or more of an experience. And that was a constant throughout her life."

Voice to Remember

<p>Harry Langdon/Getty</p> Donna Summer

Harry Langdon/Getty

Donna Summer

The world collectively grieved for the disco icon after she died, with mega music stars including Dolly Parton and the late Aretha Franklin paying tribute to Summer and sharing how she influenced them. Beyond the music industry, then-President Barack Obama issued his condolences in an official statement.

"Her voice was unforgettable, and the music industry has lost a legend far too soon," Obama said. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to Donna’s family and her dedicated fans.”

Barbra Streisand, who featured on the song "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)" with Summer, shared her shock after hearing the news: “She was so vital the last time I saw her a few months ago. I loved doing the duet with her. She had an amazing voice and was so talented. It’s so sad."

Legacy Lives On

<p>Michael Putland/Getty </p> Donna Summer

Michael Putland/Getty

Donna Summer

The 2024 Grammy lifetime achievement award isn't Summer's first posthumous honor. She was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013.

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