Sad news: the great Ronnie Spector, leader of The Ronettes and one of the great voices of the '60s girl group era and pop music in general, has died. She was 78. The news came from her family on her website:

Our beloved earth angel, Ronnie, peacefully left this world today after a brief battle with cancer. 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. She 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.

Born Veronica Greenfield in 1943 in Harlem, Ronnie led The Ronettes, who had such hits as "Be My Baby," "Baby, I Love You," "The Best Part of Breakin' Up," and "Walking in the Rain." She was married to Ronettes producer Phil Spector from 1968 to 1972. She had a long solo career, and her Christmas shows were an annual tradition in NYC.

Rest in peace, Ronnie.

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