Flashdance and Fame singer Irene Cara dead at 63, fans pay tribute and remember boundary-breaking achievements, ‘gave me hope that it was ok to be different’

Irene Cara has sadly passed away, her publicist confirmed via social media

Irene Cara has died aged 63
(Image credit: Vinnie Zuffante/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Irene Cara has passed away, aged 63.

The legendary Academy Award winning singer and actress starred in Fame, and sang the title track from Flashdance, amongst many other accomplishments.

Her publicist took to the star’s social media to confirm the sad news of her passing with her many fans.

Irene Cara was perhaps best known for starring in Fame

(Image credit: Harry Langdon/Getty Images)

The post read, “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.”

Adding that the cause of death is “currently unknown”, they confirmed more information will be released in time.

The post went on to state that “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.”

She first shot to fame when she was cast in the 1980 musical Fame. After being initially cast as a dancer, the role of Coco Hernandez was written for her and she sang the title track.

Irene Cara was a Grammy and Academy Award winner

(Image credit: Bettmann/Getty)

Her performance won her two Grammy awards for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Artist.

The song, Out Here On My Own, written and performed for the movie cemented Irene Cara’s legacy, as she became the first Black woman to win an Academy Award in a category other than acting.

This achievement was written about in Mariah Carey’s book, The Meaning of Mariah Carey, who cited Irene as one of her major influences.

Remembering the importance of her win, one Twitter user commented on Mariah's exchange with Irene. They wrote, "Irene, you don't know what that Oscar win meant to us black kids back then. You belonged to us and we then shared you with the world. My earliest memories of you was in "Roots...", then a hit recording artist. It meant that we can still be great! Be blessed!" 

Irene then went on to sing and co-write Flashdance… What A Feeling for the soundtrack of the 1983 blockbuster Flashdance, for which she also won a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance as well as an Academy Award for Best Original Song.

In a touching tribute left in Irene’s social media comments, one fan praised her and her work in Fame for helping people find themselves. “As a teenager who could not find her tribe, FAME gave me hope that it was ok to be different! Condolences to friends and family.”

Another added, “Irene was an inspiration in the 80s, especially for teenagers - a positive and vibrant role model. May she rest in peace and her memory live on to inspire many more.”

Jack Slater
Freelance writer

Jack Slater is not the Last Action Hero, but that's what comes up first when you Google him. Preferring a much more sedentary life, Jack gets his thrills by covering news, entertainment, celebrity, film and culture for woman&home, and other digital publications.

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