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Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul Dies at 76

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Aretha Franklin, The Queen of Soul has died.

It was confirmed to the Associated Press Thursday that Aretha Franklin passed away in her Detroit home at age 76. Franklin was held as one of the most influential singers of the 20th century.

 

Her death was due to pancreatic cancer she has been fighting for some time, and her family confirmed the cause in a statement:

“official cause of death was due to advance pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, which was confirmed by Franklin’s oncologist, Dr. Philip Phillips of Karmanos Cancer Institute”

The family is calling it “one of the darkest moments of their lives.” calling franklin “The matriarch and rock of our family.”

Read the full statement from her publicists below:

It is with deep and profound sadness that we announce the passing of Aretha Louise Franklin, the Queen of Soul, in a statement issued by Franklin’s family through her longtime publicist, Gwendolyn Quinn.

Franklin, 76 years old, passed away on Thursday morning, August 16 at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit, MI, surrounded by family and loved ones. Franklin’s official cause of death was due to advance pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, which was confirmed by Franklin’s Oncologist, Dr. Philip Phillips of Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, MI.

“In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds.”

“We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and fans all around the world. Thank you for your compassion and prayers. We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.”

Funeral arrangements will be announced in the coming days.

Aretha Franklin’s history in the music industry is iconic. Her sound was pop, R&B and gospel all rolled together in one amazing package. It later became known as soul.

She was born of a Detroit minister in 1942, and began her singing career at age 18. In the ten years that followed she would release hits Think, (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, Spanish Harlem, and in her rendition of Otis Redding’s Respect, she changed the soul game.

Over 100 of her songs topped the charts throughout her career, including Chain of Fools, I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You), Rock Steady, Jump To It, and (Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone.

She won 18 Grammy Awards over her career and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. She was the first woman to be inducted.

Other highlights throughout her career included an in-film performance of Think in The Blues Brothers in 1980. She later reprised the role of Mrs. Murphy in 1998 and 200, in which she performed Respect. She pumped out more hits and later added a duet with George Michael called I Knew You Were Waiting for Me.

Just this past January, Aretha chose Jennifer Hudson to portray her in a biopic about her life, which is set to come out very soon. She worked with Clive Davis over the years and their most recent project was A Brand New Me: Aretha Franklin with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

1967 proved a huge year for Franklin, when she started recording at FAME Studios in Alabama with producer Jerry Wexler. That year, she recroded Respect with her sisters doing bacground vocals. It became an athem for feminism and civil rights and blasted on the radio waves.

The Queen of Soul has perfroemd for Queen Elizabeth at Royal Albert Hall in London and several presidential inaugurations. She took the stage with legends in their own right, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross and Stevie Wonder, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. for President Bill Clinton’s inauguration. She later sang America My Country, ‘Tis of Thee’) at Barack Obama’s inauguration.

She sang alongside Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Gloria Estefan, Shania Twain and Carole King at the Beacon Theater in 1998 for VH1 special called Divas Live.

Franklin got the Grammy legend Award in 1991, Grammy lifetime Achievement Award in 1994, as well as becoming a Kennedy Center Honoree.

Aretha Franklin will be remembered as the Queen of Soul, one of the most honored Grammy artists in history, by her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame added in 1979, her place in the NAACP Hall of Fame, and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

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Shannon Toohey is Editor-In-Chief of FanFest.com. She graduated from Hofstra University in 2015 with a B.A. in Journalism from the Lawrence Herbert School of Communications. Shannon has been a proud member of the Fan Fest team since 2013. Tweet her in your prettiest bird voice: @shannontoo