Linda Ronstadt receives White House honour

Linda Ronstadt Linda Ronstadt was presented with her medal by US President Barack Obama

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Grammy winning singer Linda Ronstadt has been awarded the National Medal of Arts - the highest arts honour in the US.

The 68-year-old was presented with the medal by President Barack Obama at a White House ceremony.

She was honoured for her "one-of-a-kind voice and her decades of remarkable music".

The White House added she helped "pave the way for generations of women artists".

Ronstadt, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, was brought into the East Room at the White House by wheelchair with the help of a military aide, but walked to the stage to receive the award.

When presenting the singer's medal, President Obama revealed he "had a little crush on her back in the day".

Linda Ronstadt, who has Parkinson's disease, has won 11 Grammys and is credited for inspiring women in rock music

Inspiring women

Ronstadt got her start in the folk group Stone Poneys before forging a solo rock career in 1968.

Best known for hits such as It's So Easy and You're No Good, her success in the 1970s - at a time when rock was dominated by men - is credited with inspiring women in the genre for decades.

She has released more than 30 studio albums covering a range of genres including country, jazz and big band.

The singer has sold more than 100 million records, earning her 11 Grammys and an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year.

The Medal of Arts is awarded to individuals and groups who "are deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support and availability of the arts in the United States".

"The arts and humanities aren't just there to be consumed when we have a moment... we need them," President Obama said at the ceremony.

Eleven other arts figures were honoured, including Dreamworks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg, novelist Julia Alvarez, documentary film-maker Albert Maysles and choreographer Bill T Jones.

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