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It’s with a heavy heart that I report the award-winning actress, singer, and songwriter Irene Cara passed away at the age of 63.

Irene, whose birth name is Irene Cara Escalera, was born in the South Bronx to a Puerto Rican father and a Cuban-American mother.

I came to know and love Irene Cara when she starred in “Fame” as “Coco” and sang the timeless theme song. 

She also recorded the title track to Flashdance, which became an international hit and still ranks at #38 on Billboard’s All-Time Hot 100 Songs nearly 40 years later.

Irene also starred in Sparkle and she played Alex Haley’s mother in “Roots: The Next Generation.”

She has won an Oscar, multiple Grammys, a Golden Globe, and a People’s Choice Award.

Her publicist, Judith A. Moose, shared the sad news by releasing a statement via social media. 

Judith wrote, “This 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.”

Read the full statement below. 

It is with profound sadness that on behalf of her family I announce the passing of Irene Cara. 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. 

Irene’s family has requested privacy as they process their grief. She was a beautifully gifted soul whose legacy will live forever though her music and films. 

Funerals services are pending and a memorial for her fans will be planned at a future date. 

Debbie Allen took to social media to mourn Irene’s passing. 

She wrote, “My Heart is Broken. ?#IreneCara was such a gifted and beautiful genius. Her talent and her music will LIVE FOREVER! FOREVER REMEMBER HER NAME! #FAME ?❤️”

See her original post below. 

Viola Davis paid tribute to Irene writing, “She was EVERYTHING to me!!! When Fame came out, it shifted all who dreamed of being an artist. Irene Cara’s talent was mesmerizing! Her being a Black girl…..was the icing. She influenced an entire generation!! Gone waaayy too soon. RIP…..so grateful for your presence on this earth ???”

See her original post below. 

See more Irene Cara tributes below.