Donna Summer
Donna Summer died at the age of 63 after a battle with lung cancer. The singer will forever be remembered for her legendary disco songs that shaped a generation of music. Donna Summer/Facebook

Donna Summer, the "queen of disco", died after a battle with lung cancer, which the singer blamed on having been engulfed in a cloud of deadly asbestos dust when New York's Twin Towers collapsed in 2001.

According to a report by The Sun, Summer was present near the Twin Towers during the 9/11 attacks and suffocated when the deadly cloud containing asbestos, lead and mercury filled the sky. More than 350 people exposed to the dust that day have died of cancer.

Summer, a devout Christian, said in 2008: "I was really freaked out by the horrific experiences of that day. I couldn't go out; I didn't want to talk to anybody. I had to keep the blinds down and stay in my bedroom. I went to church and light came back into my soul. That heaviness was gone."

She also claimed she had a premonition of the the terrorist outrage: "My husband and I were walking down the street. I had this feeling. I said, 'Honey, I feel like terrorism, high on top of the buildings. I knew something was going to happen. When it did, I flipped out," she said

Summer, who died aged 63, won five Grammys and sold over 130 million records worldwide. She started singing for the church at the age of 10 and later made her professional debut at the age of 18 in Germany. Her iconic disco hits that defined an era included Last Dance, To Paris With Love and Bad Girls.

Summer was married to Bruce Sudano and has three children and four grandchildren.

Tributes to the singer were led by United States President Barack Obama. "Michelle and I were saddened to hear about the passing of Donna Summer. 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," he said in a statement.