The Tragic Death Of Ronettes Star Ronnie Spector

Ronnie Spector, best known for being the leader of the beloved girl group the Ronettes, has died at the age of 78. Her family announced the tragic news in a statement on January 12, noting the singer died after a "brief battle with cancer."

"Our beloved earth angel, Ronnie, peacefully left this world today ... She was with family and in the arms of her husband, Jonathan," a statement on her website read. "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." The statement also requested privacy for the Spector family during this difficult time.

In the wake of Spector's death, fans are revisiting her contributions to the music industry. Read on as we do the same.

Ronnie Spector was a feminist through and through

Ronnie Spector was born Veronica Bennett in New York City on August 10, 1943, according to Biography. She grew up in Manhattan and spent her childhood singing and performing. Per The Guardian, Ronnie developed an interest in music after hearing Frankie Lymon on the radio, and aspired to be like him. "His voice pierced me. My grandmother would say: 'Ronnie, you are going to go deaf if you listen any closer to that radio with Frankie on it," she told the outlet. "I loved his voice, his diction, his lyrics."

The Ronettes were created in 1961 and consisted of Ronnie, older sister Estelle Bennett, and her cousin Nedra Talley. In 1963, Ronnie realized her dream of becoming a singer even further after Estelle managed to secure an audition with Phil Spector, who'd eventually become Ronnie's first husband. According to the Associated Press, the Ronettes spent their first few years opening for Phil, before breaking out on their own with hits like, "Be My Baby" and "Baby I Love You."

Ronnie married Phil in 1968, but the two had an abusive relationship, which saw her being locked in her room. Ronnie wrote in her memoir that Phil also cheated her out of her royalties and songs, which led her to sue him. "It was about winning back me. I gave birth to those songs in the studio," Ronnie told The Guardian two years before her death. Ronnie spent her final years living a peaceful life in Connecticut with her friends and family.