'Queen of Soul' Aretha Franklin has died

August 16, 2018

© MCT / USA Today

Aretha Franklin, the undisputed "Queen of Soul" who sang with matchless style on such classics as "Think," ''I Say a Little Prayer" and her signature song, "Respect," and stood as a cultural icon around the globe, has died at age 76 from advance pancreatic cancer.

Related: All-Star Tribute Concert for Aretha Franklin In the Works

Publicist Gwendolyn Quinn tells The Associated Press through a family statement that Franklin passed Thursday at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit. The statement said "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.

The family added: "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 singer announced early in 2017 that she would retire, but still perform select shows. Then, earlier this year, doctors ordered the "Respect" singer to stay off the road and rest.

Franklin's career spans six decades. She got her start singing gospel music in a Detroit church where her father was the minister. In 1960, she signed with her first major record label. By 1968, Franklin was an established soul chart-topper with hits like "Respect," "Chain of Fools" and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman."

Franklin was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in 1987 -- a year before the Beatles were inducted. Franklin has 44 Grammy nominations and 18 wins. She has performed at the inaugurations of three presidents: Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. President George W. Bush awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.

Franklin's last known performance was at a private gala for the Elton John AIDS Foundation last November.

 

 

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