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Irene Cara, Oscar-winning singer of 'Fame' and 'Flashdance' title tracks, dies at 63

“She was a beautifully gifted soul whose legacy will live forever through her music and films,” her publicist, Judith A. Moose, said in a statement.
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Irene Cara, the Oscar-winning musician best known for singing the title tracks to the hit 1980s movies “Fame” and “Flashdance” has died, her publicist said Saturday.  

She was 63. 

“It is with profound sadness that on behalf of her family I announce the passing of Irene Cara,” Judith A. Moose said in a statement posted to Cara’s website and Twitter feed.  

“The Academy Award winning actress, singer, songwriter and producer passed away in her Florida home. Her cause of death is currently unknown and will be released when information is available."

Moose said that releasing the news was “absolutely the worst part of being a publicist,” adding, “I can’t believe I’ve had to write this, let alone release the news.

“She was a beautifully gifted soul whose legacy will live forever through her music and films,” Moose said.

Cara received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance as Coco Hernandez in the 1980 musical “Fame.” The movie's popularity spawned a TV show of the same name, which debuted on NBC in early 1982.

She later sang and co-wrote “Flashdance… What A Feeling” for the soundtrack of the 1983 blockbuster “Flashdance,” which starred Jennifer Beals as an aspiring dancer.

“Flashdance… What A Feeling” won for best original song at the 1984 Academy Awards.

That year's Oscars host, Johnny Carson, turned over the podium to presenters Beals and Matthew Broderick who named the winner.

“There aren’t enough words to express my love and my gratitude,” Cara told the Oscars audience, thanking her parents, collaborators and teachers.

“And last but not least, a very special gentlemen who I guess started it all for me many years ago. To ["Fame" director] Alan Parker, wherever you may be tonight, I thank him.”

Cara was back on the Oscars stage in 1986, performing "Here's to the Losers," in a moving tribute to the greatest movies that didn't win best picture.

Cara won two Grammy awards for the song, best album of original score written for a motion picture or a television special, which she shared with other writers, and for best female pop vocal performance. 

She later appeared in films such as “D.C. Cab” and “City Heat” and various television shows. She also performed in live theater and musicals.