Soul music legend Aretha Franklin has died at age 76

Theo Wargo/GettyAretha Franklin.
  • Aretha Franklin, known as the “Queen of Soul,” died at her home in Detroit on Thursday at the age of 76, her publicist told the Associated Press.
  • Her cause of death was advanced pancreatic cancer, according to a statement from Franklin’s family.
  • Reports earlier this week indicated the singer was “gravely ill” and put on hospice care in her home in Michigan.

Aretha Franklin died at her home in Detroit on Thursday at the age of 76, her publicist told the Associated Press.

Her cause of death was advanced pancreatic cancer, the AP said, citing a statement from Franklin’s family.

Reports earlier this week cited friends and family members as saying Franklin, known as the “Queen of Soul,” was “gravely ill” and put on hospice care in her home in Michigan.

“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,” Franklin’s family said in a statement released by her publicist, Gwendolyn Quinn. “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.”

Rumours of Franklin’s declining health followed her for several years, and she denied reports in 2011 that said she had cancer. She canceled a series of tour dates in 2017 and 2018 for health reasons, and in April her doctor ordered her to “stay off the road and rest completely.”

Franklin released her first album, “Songs of Faith,” in 1956, and her decades-spanning career earned 10 top-10 singles, including “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “Think,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” “Chain of Fools,” and her iconic 1967 cover of Otis Redding’s “Respect,” which became an anthem for the Civil Rights Movement.

Her voice was a singular force that earned her the designation of the greatest singer of all time in a 2008 Rolling Stone list.

“You know a force from heaven. You know something that God made. And Aretha is a gift from God,” the Rolling Stone feature said. “When it comes to expressing yourself through song, there is no one who can touch her. She is the reason why women want to sing.”

Franklin was one of the best-selling artists in history, with one industry estimate indicating she sold over 75 million records worldwide in her career.

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