Published Feb 13, 2009Former Ronette and '60s star Estelle Bennett was found dead Wednesday (February 13). She was 67.
Bennett was discovered by police in her New Jersey home after relatives had been unable to contact her. The exact time and cause of her death have yet to be determined.
Along with her sister Ronnie Spector and cousin Nedra Talley, Bennett sang on such Ronettes hits as "Be My Baby," "Baby, I Love You" and "Walking In the Rain," and toured with the likes of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. After the Phil Spector-produced trio broke up in 1966, she rarely made public appearances, and last came into the public eye in 2007 when the Ronettes were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
"I think she really just died of a broken heart," Bennett's friend Kevin Dilworth told the Star-Ledger. "After that group disbanded in 1966, I don't think she was ever right again.
"The only time I really saw her come to life was at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame [ceremony]. When they came out of the main ceremony room, when she walked down the hallway, and the paparazzi... all the flashing cameras, and the people asking for autographs... her eyes just lit up. She was so excited, and she was back on top of the world again. But she went right back to anonymity."
In an online statement, Ronnie Spector wrote: "To my beloved sister, rest in peace, you deserve it. I love you."