The Ronettes’ Ronnie Spector dies at age 78

Ronnie Spector, the lead singer for the hit-making girl group The Ronettes, died Wednesday at the age of 78, the Washington Examiner reported.

A statement posted to the singer’s website indicated Spector died “after a brief battle with cancer.”

“Our beloved earth angel, Ronnie, peacefully left this world today after a brief battle with cancer,” Spector’s family said in the statement. “She was with family and in the arms of her husband, Jonathan.”

“Filled with love and gratitude”

Spector was a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer whose group, The Ronettes, was perhaps best known for its hit 1963 single “Be My Baby.” According to the Washington Examiner, the song was featured in the popular movie Dirty Dancing in 1987.

“Ronnie lived her life with a twinkle in her eye, a spunky attitude, a wicked sense of humor and a smile on her face,” Spector’s family said in their statement. “She was filled with love and gratitude,” they added. “Her joyful sound, playful nature and magical presence will live on in all who knew, heard or saw her.”

A celebration of life is set to be announced sometime in the near future, the family said.

Ups and downs

According to Rolling Stone, Spector was born in New York City as Veronica Bennett. While still in high school, she teamed up with her sister Estelle Bennett and cousin Nedra Talley to form a singing group that eventually became known as The Ronettes. The group released several albums before breaking up in 1967.

In 1968, Ronnie married famed music producer and the band’s manager Phil Spector. But as she later revealed in a memoir, it was a short-lived relationship plagued by abuse and physical violence toward the singer.

According to the Associated Press, Phil Spector was later charged and convicted of abusing and murdering actress Lana Clarkson, for which he was sent to prison in 2009. He died behind bars in 2021.

A legacy left behind

Ronnie Spector, for her part, went on to continue working as a solo artist from the 1970s until just a few years ago, and was widely beloved throughout the music industry.

She helped break ground for girl groups in pop music and rock and roll.

According to the Examiner, she and The Ronettes were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.

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