Ronnie Spector, starring Ronette and “Be My Baby” singer, dies at the age of 78

Ronnie Spector, lead singer of the beloved 60s girl group Ronettes, has died of cancer, her family announced on Wednesday. She was 78.

On her website, the family’s statement reads: “Our beloved earth angel, Ronnie, left this world peacefully today after a brief battle with cancer. She was with the family and in the arms of her husband, Jonathan [Greenfield]. Ronnie lived his life with a twinkle in his eye, a spunky attitude, a vicious sense of humor and a smile on his face. She was filled with love and gratitude. Her happy sound, playful nature and magical presence will live on in everyone who knew, heard or saw her. ”

Born Veronica Bennett in 1943 in Harlem, Ronnie became famous as lead singer for Ronettes, a group she formed with her sister Estelle Bennett and their cousin Lower Talley. Their song “Be My Baby” was their biggest hit, and they joined the Beatles on their 1966 US tour.

From 1968 to 1974, she was married to Phil Spector, who produced many of the band’s records and died almost exactly one year ago. In her memories, Be my darling, she detailed his refusal to let her out of their home, among other allegations of emotional abuse. Spector was convicted of murder in 2009 and died while serving his sentence, but as Ronnie wrote on Instagram after his death: “I still smile when I hear the music we made together and will always do so. The music will be forever.”

In 1982, she married manager Jonathan Greenfield, and her group was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.

Her family wrote that she requested donations to local women’s shelters or the American Indian College Fund instead of flowers, noting that a celebration of life would be forthcoming.

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