Ronnie Spector, singer and founder of the legendary group The Ronettes, died this Wednesday from battling cancer at the age of 78 in Connecticut, according to her family in a statement.
“Our dear earthly angel, Ronnie, left this world today after a brief battle with cancer. She was accompanied by her family and in the arms of her husband, Jonathan,” the family said in the statement. They also requested privacy at this time and promised “A celebration of Ronnie’s life and his music to be announced later”.
“Ronnie lived her life with a twinkle in her eye, a spunky attitude, a wicked sense of humor and a smile on her face. She was filled with love and gratitude,” they added. No other details were revealed.
You can read the full statement here:
The family says that Ronnie asked that in lieu of flowers, those who wish to contribute donations to local women’s shelters or the American Indian College Fund.
Who was Ronnie Spector?
Ronnie, born and named Veronica Yvette Bernett, will be remembered alongside her group for her two top hits, Be My Baby and Baby I Love You, covered by groups of all styles for decades.
The Ronettes, one of the most famous “girl groups” in the sixties and seventies born in the New York neighborhood of Harlem, was formed in 1957 by Ronnie, his sister Esthelle and his cousin Nedra Talley.
Before the ‘British invasion’ and the Beatles changed the rules of the game, the sixties were theirs. With one success after another, The Ronettes became a sensation, the group Lennon and McCartney asked to meet during the first British tour of New Yorkers and the class of band that could sign the Rolling Stones as opening act. It was short-lived, yes, but the intensity was dazzling and blinding.
Much of their fame is due to their association with the famous Phil Spector, the King Midas of pop music, who married Ronnie (hence her married name) in a marriage that lasted until 1972. After a very nasty divorce, alcohol was then her refuge, an addiction that dragged on for years and that she managed to get rid of just in time to, now, be reborn in a big way by getting closer to punk rockers like the Ramones and Johnny Thunders, and allowing herself to collaborate with musicians like Keith Richards and Patti Smith on ‘The Last Of The Rock Stars‘, an album with a premonitory title with which he sealed a career full of shattered hearts, raw emotions and rock and roll in its purest and wild state.
Rest in peace Ronnie Spector, you will be missed,