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Illness, death of 'very private' Donna Summer 'shocked' friends

The loss of Donna Summer Thursday at age 63 following a 10-month battle with cancer, hit friends, fans and colleagues hard in different ways. Two people who had a close, decades-long relationship with the disco queen, her former manager Joyce Trabulus and Trabulus' son (and Summer producer) Evan Bogart, spoke with TODAY's Matt Lauer via satellite from L.A. to share their memories.

Trabulus said that while they had once been very close, she had not known about Summer's illness. "I was very surprised," she said. "Shocked, really." But, she said, she understood why Summer kept her diagnosis quiet. "She was a very private person and wanted to be with her family, and I think she would not have had the opportunity to keep going with all the projects that she was doing. No grass ever grew under Donna's feet."

Bogart knew Summer his entire life, and then grew up to work as a producer for some of her music. "It's kind of weird growing up and knowing Donna the legend, Donna the name and Donna the person as a kid," he recalled. "Actually being able to go in the studio and work one-on-one with her ... was magical."

When Summer first became a big star, recalled Trabulus, she was really starting from ground zero: "She was living quite a normal life in Munich when we found her," she said. "She came over as a star, and she had to learn how to do choreography and dance and makeup and everything on the road. She was very brave, and took it all on."

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