Irene Cara, the Oscar-winning singer known for lending powerhouse vocals to the iconic movie soundtracks for Fame and Flashdance, is dead at 63.
According to a tweet posted to Cara's account by a representative on behalf of her family, Cara passed away at her home in Largo, Florida, though the cause of death is still unknown and "will be released when information is available." The note added, "Irene's family has requested privacy as they process their grief."
Born Irene Cara Escalera, Cara began her performing career from a young age, getting her start on Spanish-language television. By 12, she was a regular cast member on a PBS children's educational series called The Electric Company.
After putting time into several Broadway shows, Cara came to national prominence in 1980 for her work on Fame, including the film's title track "Fame" as well as another single "Out Here on My Own."
In 1983, Cara co-wrote and sang the original track "Flashdance...What a Feeling" for the film Flashdance. This earned her a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and an Academy Award for Best Original Song. The next time a Black woman would win a non-acting award wouldn't be until 2019, when Black Panther's costume and production designers took home awards in their respective categories.
As a household name in the 80s, Cara notably appeared in several films, notably including the 1984 comedy City Heat alongside Burt Reynolds and Clint Eastwood. But by the 90s, she had largely stopped acting.
"She was a beautifully gifted soul whose legacy will live forever through her music and films," the statement of Cara's passing concludes. "Funeral services are pending and a memorial for her fans will be planned at a future date."
\u201cThis is the absolute worst part of being a publicist. I can't believe I've had to write this, let alone release the news. Please share your thoughts and memories of Irene. I'll be reading each and every one of them and know she'll be smiling from Heaven. She adored her fans. - JM\u201d— Irene Cara (@Irene Cara) 1669444693
Photo via Getty / Michael Ochs Archives