Breaking News

Aretha Franklin “Queen of Soul” Passes at Age 76

Aretha Franklin

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.

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.”

Funeral arrangements will be announced in the coming days, the statement said.

Over the course of her nearly 60-year career, Franklin achieved some of the most prestigious accolades. Out the 44 Grammy nominations she received, Franklin took 18 wins home — including the Grammy Legend Award in 1991 and the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994. In 1987, Franklin also became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Additionally, in 2005, Franklin was one of the select few civilians to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civil award.

To date, her net worth sits at $80 million.

People were praying for Franklin  at a Detroit church where her father was once a pastor. The special vigil at New Bethel Baptist Church began before dawn Wednesday.

The prayers come one day after Stevie Wondervisited the ailing Queen of Soul at her home. The Rev. Jesse Jackson and Franklin’s ex-husband, actor Glynn Turman, also visited Franklin, who is seriously ill.

A person close to Franklin, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to publicly talk about the topic, told The Associated Press on Monday that the singer is ill. No more details were provided.

A report comes from Showbiz 411, which says the music legend was taken to a Detroit hospital.

Amid reports that Aretha Franklin is “gravely ill” and surrounded by her family in Detroit, TMZ reports that Monday, August 13, is the day “Aretha will pass.”

The Queen of Soul’s family is reportedly gathered for a final goodbye. A source close to Franklin, 76, says he was told a week ago, “Prepare yourself, she’s dying.” He added that Franklin’s health has been failing and she has dropped to 86 lbs. People close to the legendary singer and songwriter were reportedly told two weeks ago that “she could go any time.”

Philadelphia reporter in contact with a family friend of Franklin also confirmed that the singer was “not doing well.”

In Detroit, a local news outlet reported the singer’s illness citing a tweet by Evrod Cassimy, a singer, songwriter and a friend of Franklin.

“I am so saddened to report that the Queen of Soul and my good friend, Aretha Franklin is gravely ill. I spoke with her family members this morning. She is asking for your prayers at this time. I’ll have more details as I’m allowed to release.”

The 76-year-old has been dealing with multiple heath problems recently. She was diagnosed with cancer in 2010. Her last performance was with Elton John in 2017.

Franklin’s legendary music career began in 1956 and reached unprecedented heights in the late 1960s and 1970s thanks to hit singles like “Respect,” “(You Make Me Feel) Like a Natural Woman,” “Think” and “Spanish Harlem.” She has won 18 Grammy Awards and is a member of the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame and the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Franklin was married and divorced twice, and has four children.

Franklin’s other hit recordings include “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man,” “Chain of Fools,” “The Thrill Is Gone,” “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” “See Saw,” “Son of a Preacher Man” and “Rock Steady.” In 2014, she found another success with a cover of Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep.”