Singer and actress Irene Cara has been found dead in her Florida home at the age of 63.
Her publicist, Judith Moose, confirmed the news on Saturday which came after the Oscar-winner was recently the subject of a death hoax.
“It is with profound sadness that on behalf of her family I announce the passing of Irene Cara,” Moose said in a statement. “Her cause of death is currently unknown and will be released when the information is available.”
“We’re all in shock,” she said.
Cara was born in the Bronx, New York City, in 1959 she was the youngest of five children and started her career on Spanish-language TV.
Her father was Puerto Rican and her mother, Cuban-American.
She started performing as a child, appearing on Johnny Carson’s The Tonight Show.
In 1971-72 she was a regular on The Electric Company.
Cara gained some attention in 1976 when she played Sparkle, in the Joel Schumacher movie of the same name about three sisters who form a singing group in 1950s Harlem.
She also appeared in the sequel to Roots, playing Bertha Palmer Haley alongside Ruby Dee and Henry Fonda.
But her big break came in 1980 when she played Coco Hernandez in the hit musical Fame. Her performance garnered her a Best Actress nomination at the 1981 Golden Globe Awards.
She also received two Grammy nominations for the musical and won Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Artist.
Cara went on to win a Grammy and an Oscar in 1984 with the title track to Flashdance.
Tributes poured in for Cara, including from her Fame co-star Lee Curreri, who starred opposite her in the movie as Bruno Martelli, who shared a black-and-white photo of her on Instagram, with a caption consisting of a sole red heart emoji.
Comedian Yvette Nicole Brown said Cara was “one of the first women I saw singing, dancing & acting in color not B&W who looked like me.”
“Mimicking her helped me find my own singing voice. I still have that tape. And then there was #Sparkle. Don’t even get me started on #IreneCara in Sparkle.”
Singer Deborah Cox called Cara “one of my biggest inspirations growing up.”