Obama Pays Tribute To 'Legend' Donna Summer

US President Barack Obama has paid to singer Donna Summer, who died of cancer on Thursday at the age of 63.

"Michelle and I were saddened to hear about the passing of Donna Summer," he said in a statement.

 "A five-time Grammy Award winner, Donna truly was the 'Queen of Disco'. Her voice was unforgettable, and the music industry has lost a legend far too soon. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Donna's family and her dedicated fans."

A statement from her family announcing the sad news read: "Early this morning, we lost Donna Summer Sudano , a woman of many gifts, the greatest being her faith.

"While we grieve her passing, we are at peace celebrating her extraordinary life and her continued legacy.

"Words truly can't express how much we appreciate your prayers and love for our family at this sensitive time."

One report suggested the singer, who was living in an apartment in New York at the time, blamed the 9/11 terror attacks on the city's Twin Towers for her lung cancer.

According to a report on celebrity news website TMZ , although she was a smoker and had performed throughout her career in smoke-filled clubs, she was convinced the toxic fumes she inhaled after breathing the air caused the cancer.

The "Queen of Disco", who sang pulsing anthems such as Last Dance, Love to Love You Baby and Bad Girl, came to prominence just as disco was burgeoning in the 1970s.

Music journalist Paul Gambaccini told Sky News Summer will have a "lasting legacy".

"She never set out to be what she became. She came over to Europe to be a musical theatre actress and wound up being Queen of Disco because she met Pete Bellotte and Giorgio Moroder.

"She was for about five years just unstoppable."

In the mid-1980s, Summer encountered controversy when she was accused of making anti-gay comments related to Aids.

She claimed she had been misquoted but not before thousands of her records were returned and dance clubs boycotted her music.

Summer holds the record for most consecutive double albums to hit number one on the Billboard charts (three) and was the first female to have four number one singles in a 12-month period.

In 2008, Summer launched a comeback and released Crayons, her first album in 17 years.

She also performed on American Idol that year with its top female contestants.

Summer leaves behind a husband, three daughters and four grandchildren.