Branigan died of a brain aneurysm Thursday in her sleep at her home in East Quogue, New York her brother Mark Branigan told AP. He said she had complained to a friend of a headache for about two weeks before she died, but had not sought medical attention.
Her signature song, "Gloria," stayed atop the pop charts for 36 weeks and earned her a Grammy nomination for best female pop vocalist, the first of four nominations in her career. She also made television appearances in the '80s including guest spots on CHiPs, and in the films Mugsy's Girls and Backstage.
After her run of success in the 1980s, her releases in the early 1990s attracted little attention. In 1994, she sang a duet with David Hasselhoff called "I Believe" for the soundtrack of the television show Baywatch.
After the death of her husband, Lawrence Kruteck, in 1996, Branigan stopped performing but returned to the stage in 2002, starring as Janis Joplin in the off-Broadway musical Love, Janis, which earned her rave reviews.
Branigan recently had been working on material for a new release. She is survived by her mother, two brothers and a sister. Funeral services were scheduled for Monday, AP reports.