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She was 78.
“Our beloved earth angel, Ronnie, peacefully left this world today after a brief battle with cancer,” the family said. “She was with family and in the arms of her husband, Jonathan. Ronnie lived her life with a twinkle in her eye, a spunky attitude, a wicked sense of humor and a smile on her face.”
Tributes to Spector’s talent began pouring in from music royalty.
Born Veronica Bennett in the Spanish Harlem neighborhood of New York City, she formed the Ronettes in 1961 with an older sister and a cousin while she was still a teenager.
The group didn’t become famous until after they auditioned two years later for music producer Phil Spector, creator of the 1960s’ “Wall of Sound” style, who signed them to his label.
Fueled by the runaway success of “Be My Baby,” their first single for Spector, they toured the country with Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars and reeled off a string of pop hits over the next several years, including “Baby I Love You,” “Walking in the Rain” and “Do I Love You?”
The group broke up in 1967. Soon after Ronnie wed Phil Spector, with whom she had a tumultuous relationship. The couple divorced in 1974.
In her memoir, “Be My Baby: How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts, and Madness,” Ronnie Spector described her husband as controlling and emotionally abusive.
Phil Spector was later convicted of murdering actress Lana Clarkson and sentenced to 19 years in prison. He died behind bars.
Her family said Ronnie Spector “was filled with love and gratitude. Her joyful sound, playful nature and magical presence will live on in all who knew, heard or saw her. In lieu of flowers, Ronnie requested that donations be made to your local women’s shelter or to the American Indian College Fund. A celebration of Ronnie’s life and music will be announced in the future. The family respectfully asks for privacy at this time.”
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