'Queen of Soul' Aretha Franklin has died

Ruben Ruiz
August 16, 2018

Aretha Franklin, The Queen of Soul, has died Thursday at the age of 76, according to her publicist.

"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 statement said. "We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family".

Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.

Legendary performer Aretha Franklin, often dubbed the Queen of Soul, has tragically passed away at the age of 76.

Perhaps she didn't need to be - it was all in her voice.

Her five-decade career also saw Aretha sing at the inaugurations of both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and boasts a total of 18 Grammy awards.

Personally, the star struggled with her weight throughout most of her life and had been a longtime smoker. She was an instant success on R&B radio and on the touring circuit, but she really exploded into the pop consciousness in 1966, when she moved from Columbia to Atlantic. "Hits like "Respect", "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman", and "Think" - all recorded during the peak of her late "60s popularity - brought together personal and sociological themes with a piercing authority that made her both a crucial influence on the civil rights movement and an inspiration to women the world over.

The singer's career took off when she recorded her 1967 hit "Respect", which won two Grammy Awards. She got her start singing gospel music in a Detroit church where her father was the minister. Consecutive gold albums in 1985 and 1986 meant Franklin was back, and judging by her record sales, she was better than ever.

Aretha found modest success during her time with Columbia, achieving her first top 40 single with Rock-a-Bye Your baby with a Dixie Melody, which garnered her some global fame. Her father was a popular preacher and she grew up with gospel greats like Albertina Walker and Mahalia Jackson visiting her home.

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There would be lulls in her career but by then the dye was cast.

Resilient and soulful anthems were released throughout the 1970s on new albums like "Spirit in the Dark", "Young, Gifted and Black" and "Amazing Grace".

Last year, the music icon announced her plans to retire, saying she would perform at "some select things". She subsequently canceled several appearances. A few years later her mother was dead.

From her gospel beginnings in the early '50s to her 2014 cover of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep", Franklin wowed audiences with the power of her incomparably intense and instantly recognizable mezzo-soprano and rollicking piano.

In addition to hit records, over the years Franklin also sang in front of multiple presidents.

Aretha leaves behind four children.

Franklin did not perform regularly for many years, partly because of an aversion to flying after a rough trip in 1982.

By 17, she had given birth to two children and later had two other sons.

Other reports by GizPress

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