HomeAmerican EntertainmentPeopleIrene Cara, ‘Flashdance… What a Feeling’ Singer, Dead at 63

Irene Cara, ‘Flashdance… What a Feeling’ Singer, Dead at 63

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Getty Images/Bob Riha, Jr.)

Irene Cara, the trail-blazing, Grammy-winning singer best known for her smash hit “Flashdance…What a Feeling,” has died at the age of 63, as confirmed by her publicist, Judith A. Moose.

“It is with profound sadness that on behalf of her family I announce the passing of Irene Cara,” read the statement on Cara’s Twitter page posted by her publicist. “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 through her music and films. Funeral services are pending and a memorial for her fans will be planned at a future date,” the statement concluded.

“This is the absolute worst part of being a publicist,” Moose said in the caption. “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.”

Irene Cara’s Illustrious Career in Music

Though Irene Cara’s musical career stretches back to the ’60s, she truly found her stride in 1980, when she was cast as Coco Hernandez in the musical Fame. Audiences were wowed by both Cara’s acting prowess and her performance of the title track. Three years later, she recorded the title track for Flashdance.

With her smash hit “Flashdance… What a Feeling,” Irene Cara won a Golden Globe Award and an Oscar for best original song. In 1984, she collected yet another accolade, earning a Grammy for best pop vocal performance for “Flashdance… What a Feeling.”

According to her official website, the string of awards was a major milestone for Irene Cara, both personally and professionally. She was the first African American female to “win the coveted award since Hattie McDaniel (Gone With the Wind – 1939), the first Hispanic female since Rita Moreno (West Side Story – 1961), and the first bi-racial female ever to win in any category, predating Halle Berry by nearly twenty years.”

Irene Cara’s illustrious career had a profound impact on fans all over the world, inspiring countless listeners to pursue their dreams, regardless of the odds. “If it wasn’t for the show Fame, I never would have known that I can sing, play the cello, and dance. Thank you for inspiring this little girl from Chicago,” one fan wrote.