Ronnie Spector, the trail-blazing lead singer of the 1960s all-girl group the Ronettes, has died.
The pop star found fame with hits such as Be My Baby, Baby I Love You and Walking in the Rain.
A statement from her family said she passed away at age 78 “after 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,” the statement said.
“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 in 1943 in Manhattan as Veronica Yvette Bennett, she shot to fame aged just 18 while performing with her older sister and cousin.
With their beehive hairstyles and liberal use of mascara, the multi-racial group caught the attention of record producers while performing in New York clubs.
In 1968, she wed Phil Spector, who pioneered the “wall of sound” recording technique. They were married for six years and adopted three children before their divorce.
It was under him that the group recorded smash hits like Be My Baby, Walking In The Rain and Baby I Love You.
But he was violent and abusive. In her memoir, Spector wrote that Phil kept a coffin in the basement of their house to let the singer know that he would kill her if she left him. In 1972, she escaped their house barefoot.
credit by bbc