Numerous sources are reporting that the "Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin, has passed away. The legendary singer passed away at 76 years old, according to the Associated Press.
Franklin, who was known for her powerful singing voice and emotional depth, topped the pop and R&B charts in the late ’60s and early ’70s.
Franklin had long been fighting a battle with cancer. She had pancreatic cancer, and she had earlier undergone surgery in December 2010.
Franklin died Thursday morning. According to her publicist, she died at home in Detroit.
Franklin had a life full of acclaim. She won 18 Grammy Awards, and a Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement honoree in 1994. She also became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. She was the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the National Medal of Arts, and the Kennedy Center Honors.
Franklin's talent started as a gospel singer in church. Variety writes that she attracted awed attention in the gospel world before entering the pop sphere at the age of 18. She started at Columbia Records, but only produced hits after moving to Atlantic Records.
In 1967, Franklin released “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You),” which was a No. 10 pop hit. Next she released her "career-defining" No. 1 cover of Otis Redding’s “Respect.”
“The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll” wrote about her: “From 1967 to 1970 she was the preeminent black musician in pop music.” Already a legend, she moved to Arista Records for a run of lesser hits from 1980-2003. Her last chart single, “Put You Up on Game” (a duet with “American Idol” champ Fantasia), was released in 2007.
Franklin was born in Memphis into a musical family. Her sisters Erma (who originated Janis Joplin’s signature hit “Piece of My Heart”) and Carolyn (who often backed and sometimes wrote for her sibling) would also enjoy R&B careers. She was the daughter of C.L. Franklin, who served as pastor Detroit ministry the New Bethel Baptist Church from the late ’40s.
After a lull in releases, she released “Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics” in 2014, which became the singer’s most popular album in nearly 30 years. In the collection, she sang Etta James, Barbra Streisand, Alicia Keys, Dinah Washington, and others. In November 2017, she made her last performance at the Elton John AIDS Foundation Gala in New York.
In 2017, the singer said she’d planned to retire from touring in the coming months. She is survived by four sons: Clarence and Edward Franklin, Ted White Jr. (a regular member of her touring band) and Kecalf Cunningham.
Fans are already taking to Twitter to mourn her passing. They honor her memory and the music she's left behind.
Please pray for all those mourning her passing. She was a great musical legend, and her music will live on after her.