ACTRESS/singer Irene Cara has died. The Bronx-born Academy Award-winning artiste's death was confirmed by her publicist Judith A Moose via Twitter on Saturday.
Moose, who did not specify when Cara died, said her cause of death was "currently unknown and will be released when information is available".
Cara rose to prominence through her role as Coco Hernandez in the 1980 musical Fame. She also sang the film's title song, which reached number one in several countries.
In 1983, Cara sang and co-wrote Flashdance... What a Feeling (from the movie Flashdance), for which she won an Academy Award for Best Original Song and a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 1984. Prior to Fame, Cara portrayed Sparkle Williams in the 1976 musical Sparkle.
Fame and Flashdance…What A Feeling were big in Jamaica. The latter topped the JBC Radio One Top 30 and RJR Top 40 charts in 1983.
Jamaican singer Annette Brissett did a reggae version of Flashdance..What a Feeling for her 1983 album Love Power, which was released by the Wackie's label.
Cara was also known locally for the song Now That it's Over, from her final studio album, 1987's Carasmatic, which was released by Elektra Records. The song got significant airplay on JBC FM's Float On programme.
She had eight songs on the Billboard Hot 100. Her last entry was You Were Made For Me, which peaked at number 78 in November 1984.
Cara's most successful album was What A Feelin', released by Network Records and Geffen Records. It peaked at number 77 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart.
She continued to act and make music into the 1990s, but got embroiled in a legal battle with her record company over royalties. She was awarded $1.5 million by a California jury in 1993 but Cara said she was "virtually blacklisted" by the music industry because of that dispute, People magazine reported in 2001.