Aretha Franklin – the 'Queen of Soul' – dies, aged 76
Aretha Franklin died today, aged 76, surrounded by family members at her Detroit home in Michigan, US. The “Queen of Soul” was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for her powerful voice and soul full ballads.
A family statement issued by publicist Gwendolyn Quinn read: ”The 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."
Franklin was diagnosed with the cancer in 2010.
She continued performing up until last year, where she announced she was retiring from music to spend more time with her grandchildren. Her inspiring career spanned nearly seven decades.
Franklin’s final performance was given last November at a New York gala in honor of the Elton John Aids Foundation.
Born in Memphis Tennessee, the powerful singer began singing gospel music as a child at the New Bethel Baptist Church.
Her career is decorated with many impressive feats and accolades including 20 number one hit singles in the US.
One of which, rocketed her to fame in 1967 with the simple letters "R-E-S-P-E-C-T", a song which has been credited for energising African Americans during the civil rights period.
Between 1968 and 1975, Franklin collected Grammy after Grammy for the best R&B vocal performance, eight years in a row.
In 2005, US President George W Bush honoured her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Ten years later, Franklin famously reduced US President Obama to tears with her powerful rendition of "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" at the Kennedy Center Honours.
Funeral arrangements are to come in the next few days, according to the family statement.
A string of celebrities shared their love and condolences on social media in respect of the legend.
Singer Annie Lennox wrote: “ She has reigned supreme. and will always be held in the highest firmament of stars as the most exceptional vocalist, performer and recording artist the world has ever been privileged to witness. Superlatives are often used to describe astonishing artists, but in my view even superlatives seem insufficient."
Singer/songwriter Carole King tweeted out one of Franklin’s songs and the words: “ What a life. What a legacy! So much love, respect and gratitude. R.I.P. @ArethaFranklin.”
Beatles legend, Paul McCartney, tweeted: “Let’s all take a moment to give thanks for the beautiful life of Aretha Franklin, the Queen of our souls, who inspired us all for many many years. She will be missed but the memory of her greatness as a musician and a fine human being will live with us forever. Love Paul.”
Singer John Legend wrote: “Goodbye Ms. Aretha. You were my idol. The greatest singer of all time. Every note you sang was pure and authentic and pierced our hearts with joy and pain and life.”
And writer of the musical Hamilton, Lin- Manuel Miranda, tweeted: “ Lucky enough to have seen Aretha live exactly once, and this was it. Thank you for the music, we will be listening to you forever.”