Queen Elizabeth was “saddened” by singer Dusty Springfield’s death so soon after the pop star had been awarded the Order of the British Empire on New Year’s Day. Springfield, 59, had been too ill to travel to London to collect the honor in person from the Queen at a Buckingham Palace investiture ceremony. Springfield, known for such ’60s hits as “Wishin’ and Hopin’,” “Son of a Preacher Man” and others, died yesterday at her home outside London. Mike Gill, who worked with the singer for nearly 32 years, told Britain’s Press Association: “She was a total and utter perfectionist, which on occasions gave her a bad reputation, but 99% of the time she got it absolutely right.” He added: “After she found out she had cancer … she became almost a recluse. But she was a great fighter. Even before the illness she was one of the most stubborn people I have met in my life, but her attitude to the cancer was ‘I’m going to beat this.’ The doctors were amazed by her resilience to the disease.”

  • Elton John says the first performer he idolized was Dusty Springfield. “Hers was the first fan club I belonged to,” John told a sold-out audience in Peoria Tuesday night after learning that Springfield had died of breast cancer. “I had pictures of Dusty all over my walls.” John sang one of Springfield’s hits, “I Only Want To Be With You,” and said: “Dusty, wherever you are, this one’s for you, my love, with all my love.”
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