Brian Wilson and Gene Simmons lead tributes to ‘iconic’ singer Ronnie Spector

Brian Wilson, Gene Simmons and Kathy Valentine are among those paying tribute to “iconic” US musician Ronnie Spector, following her death aged 78.

The Ronettes singer’s famous friends described her as a “special person” and said her spirit would “live on forever”.

Spector, who was known for such 1960s hits as Be My Baby, Baby I Love You and Walking In The Rain, died on Wednesday after a brief battle with cancer, her family said.

Beach Boys co-founder Wilson, who reportedly became obsessed with Be My Baby, said he was heartbroken by the news.

“I just heard the news about Ronnie Spector and I don’t know what to say,” he tweeted.

“I loved her voice so much and she was a very special person and a dear friend. This just breaks my heart.

“Ronnie’s music and spirit will live forever.”

Remembering Spector, Kiss bassist Simmons said: “RIP Ronnie Spector.

“The iconic voice of the Ronettes.

“I was proud to have spent some time with Ronnie at A&M Studios, listening to her tell stories about the early years of rock ‘n roll. She will be missed.”

Go-Go’s bassist Valentine thanked Spector for being “so freaking cool”.

“This totally blows. f*** cancer,” she said.

“RIP the legend Ronnie Spector. Thank you for the music, for being so freaking cool”.

Lord Of The Rings actor Elijah Wood tweeted: “Farewell, legend and music icon Ronnie Spector.

“I imagine Be My Baby will play on repeat across the globe today”.

Spector’s band The Ronettes, famous for their striking looks and powerful voices, were one of the premier acts of the girl-group era, touring England with the Rolling Stones and befriending the Beatles.

Her family said she had lived her life with “a twinkle in her eye, a spunky attitude, a wicked sense of humour and a smile on her face”.

She is survived by her husband, Jonathan Greenfield, and two sons, Jason and Austin.