Ronnie Spector dead at 78 – Cause of death revealed for The Ronettes star who sang 'Be My Baby' & married Phil Spector

RONNIE Spector, has died at the age of 78 her family have revealed.

The Ronettes legend was an extraordinary singer best known around the world for hits including "Be My Baby".

Spector was lead singer inthe girl group, which formed in the early 1960's and also celebrated hits like “Baby I Love You” and “Walking in the Rain.”

She also married svengali producer Phil Spector in 1968, suffering years of abuse and death threats before eventually escaping their mansion in 1972 in a barefoot dash with the help of her mother.

When Spector – who was later convicted of murder – died in January 2021 age 81, Ronnie said "He was a brilliant producer, but a lousy husband".

Ronnie's family yesterday released a statement announcing her death, saying she had a brief battle with cancer but no other details were revealed.

Read our Ronnie Spector live blog below for the latest news

  • Louis Allwood

    'Sensational and unique Ronnie Spector'

    On the day of her death people took to Twitter to express their grief and memories of the artist.

    "I like to think about Ronnie Spector's voice ringing out into the universe forever," one user wrote.

    "Very sad to hear that the sensational and unique Ronnie Spector has left this world. She sang on some of the most magical pop tracks ever made," another user tweeted.

  • Louis Allwood

    The groups early years

    They were signed to Phillies Records in 1963, first acting as backup for other groups.

    That was until Phil Spector had the group record “Be My Baby” and “Baby I Love You.”

    The Ronettes' first album “Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes Featuring Veronica" was released in 1964.

    Five of its tracks made it to the US Billboard charts.

    “Nothing excites me more than just being onstage, having fun and flirting and winking to the guys and stuff like that,” Spector told People Magazine in 2017.

    “I just have so much fun. It’s just the best feeling when I go out and they say, 'Ladies and gentlemen…' —my heart stops for a minute—'…Ronnie Spector and the Ronettes!'

    "Then I just go out there and the crowd reacts the way they react and I can go on singing forever.”

  • Louis Allwood

    When was she married to Phil Spector?

    During his marriage with his first wife Annette Merar, Spector was allegedly having an affair with Ronnie Bennett.

    Spector divorced Merar in 1966 and married Ronnie in 1968.

    The Ronettes singer took his name and was known as Ronnie Spector.

    She alleged in her memoir Be My Baby: How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts And Madness that Spector controlled her every move and subjected her to emotional distress while married.

    The pair divorced in 1974, with Ronnie reportedly forfeiting all future record earnings because she alleged that Spector threatened her with a “hitman”.

    After news of his death broke, she posted on Instagram: "It’s a sad day for music and a sad day for me.

  • Louis Allwood

    How did Ronnie Spector die?

    On January 12, 2022, Ronnie Spector's family released a statement through her official website, which announced her death.

    “Ronnie lived her life with a twinkle in her eye, a spunky attitude, a wicked sense of humor, and a smile on her face," her family said. 

    The statement also read: "She was filled with love and gratitude."

    In the website's message, Ronnie's cause of death was attributed to "a brief battle with cancer."

    They continued: "A celebration of Ronnie’s life and music will be announced in the future."

    "The family respectfully asks for privacy at this time," the family's statement concluded.

  • Louis Allwood

    Was Ronnie Spector married and did she have children?

    Ronnie Spector had a total of five children with two different men.

    She had a total of three children with ex-husband Phil Spector.

    Ronnie went on to have another two children with her second husband Jonathan Greenfield.

    Her children include Donte Phillip Spector, Gary Phillip Spector, Louis Phillip Spector, Jason Charles Greenfield, and Austin Drew Greenfield.

  • Louis Allwood

    Who was Ronnie Spector?

    Veronica "Ronnie" Spector was born in Spanish Harlem, New York on August 10, 1943.

    Ronnie and her older sister Estelle, along with their cousin Nedra Talley, formed the Ronettes.

    The Ronettes were signed to Philles Records by famed producer, Phil Spector.

    They had a parade of hits in the 1960s including Be My Baby, Baby I Love You, Walking in the Rain, and The Best Part of Breakin' Up.

  • Louis Allwood

    "We had to make an impression with our style"

    Born Veronica Bennett, Spector grew up in Manhattan and began singing and dancing in clubs as Ronnie and the Relatives.

    They became known for their heavy use of eyeliner and mascara.

    “The louder they applauded, the more mascara we put on the next time,” she said in her memoir.

    “We didn’t have a hit record to grab their attention, so we had to make an impression with our style. None of it was planned out; we just took the look we were born with and extended it.”

  • Louis Allwood

    She was known for her powerful voice

    They were known for their sexy look and powerful voices, as well as for scoring many of their biggest hits.

    “We weren’t afraid to be hot. That was our gimmick,” Spector said in her memoir.

    “When we saw The Shirelles walk on stage with their wide party dresses, we went in the opposite direction and squeezed our bodies into the tightest skirts we could find.

    "Then we’d get out on stage and hike them up to show our legs even more.”

  • Louis Allwood

    The group toured with some huge names

    The Ronettes befriended The Beatles and toured with The Rolling Stones at the height of their fame as one of the premier acts of the girl-group era.

    Spector's sister Estelle Bennett and cousin Nedra Talley made up the other members of the group.

  • Louis Allwood

    "She was filled with love and gratitude"

    Her family said in a statement announcing her death that she had a brief battle with cancer but no other details were revealed.

    “Ronnie lived her life with a twinkle in her eye, a spunky attitude, a wicked sense of humor, and a smile on her face," her family said.

    "She was filled with love and gratitude."

  • Louis Allwood

    Ronnie Spector has died aged 78

    SINGER Ronnie Spector, famed for hits such as "Be My Baby", died on Wednesday aged 78 after a brief battle with cancer.

    The rock'n'roll siren was the leader of the girl group The Ronettes, who also celebrated hits such as “Baby I Love You” and “Walking in the Rain.”

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