Eartha Kitt, sultry singer and dancer, dies at 81

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NEW YORK (AP) -- A family friend says Eartha Kitt, a sultry singer, dancer and actress who rose from South Carolina cotton fields to become an international symbol of elegance and sensuality, has died. She was 81.

Andrew Freedman says Kitt died Thursday of colon cancer and was recently treated at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York.

Kitt, a self-proclaimed "sex kitten" famous for her catlike purr, was one of America's most versatile performers, winning two Emmys and getting a third nomination. She also was nominated for two Tony Awards and a Grammy.