Donna Summer lost her very quiet battle with lung cancer May 17th, 2012. The five time Grammy-winning disco legend’s death came as a shock to her devoted fans. There are many of us who still know every word to the pop disco hits “Hot Stuff” and “Bad Girls” and who still sing out loud in the car when “She Works Hard For The Money” or “Last Dance” comes over the radio.
Donna Summer was in her New York apartment on Sept. 11, 2001, when the attacks occurredreports MSN NOW. Asbestos dust clouds were prevalent throughout the city following the collapse of the Twin Towers. It was this exposure to asbestos dust that possibly led to her fatal lung cancer.
In 2008, Summer recounted her feelings of that dreadful day:
“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.”
Lung cancer is cited as the leading cause of cancer deaths for Americans, accounting for nearly 200,000 diagnoses each year. Asbestos is believed to cause as much as four percent of all lung cancer cases; 8,000 asbestos related lung cancers diagnosed each year. Donna Summer had also been a smoker during her life. Although there are those who attribute her lung cancer in full or in part to her cigarette smoking, she remained adamant that her disease resulted from her 9-11 exposure. Her family proclaims that she was a non-smoker. If Donna Summer’s lung cancer is conclusively linked to her asbestos exposure, she will go down in history with such other celebrities as Steve McQueen, the King of Cool; Merlin Olsen, actor and NFL football player; and Paul Gleason of Breakfast Club and Die Hard fame, who died as a result of asbestos.
Regardless, Donna Summer will be missed, but her music will be remembered forever.
Although natural disasters such as hurricanes and man-inspired catastrophes such as 9-11 can create unsafe conditions by disturbing asbestos and causing it to become airborne, the majority of asbestos exposure and asbestos related illnesses are a result of occupational exposure. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with an asbestos related disease such as asbestosis, Lung Cancer or Mesothelioma, preserve your legal rights and contact an experienced asbestos attorney who will fight for YOU.