Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul and the legendary voice behind the hits, Respect and I Say A Little Prayer has died at the age of 76. Aretha’s publicist Gwendolyn Quinn told the Associated Press through a family statement that the music icon died at her home in Detroit, Michigan at 9:50 am on Thursday, August 16. “Franklin’s official cause of death was due to advance pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, which was confirmed by Franklin’s oncologist, Dr. Phillip Phillips of Karmaanos Cancer Institute.”
Aretha Franklin passed away at her home in Detroit at the age of 76 Photo: Getty Images
Aretha’s family added to the statement saying, “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 love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds.”
It continued: “We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and fans all around the world. Thank you for your compassion and prayers. We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.” There have been no further details regarding funeral arrangements made by her family at the time.
The Detroit native was known as the Queen of Soul Photo: Getty Images
Earlier this week, it was reported that Aretha’s health had taken a turn for the worst and that she was at home surrounded by family and friends, as she received hospice care. Aretha, the daughter of minister C.L. Franklin, was known for bringing the spirit of gospel music to secular tunes. The Detroit native, and the piano prodigy, reached her first number one with 1967’s I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You).
Aretha gave her final performance at the Elton John AIDS Foundation Gala in 2017 Photo: Getty Images
In the decades that followed Aretha found success with her singles Natural Woman, Chain of Fools and one of her biggest tunes to date, Respect. Aretha earned 18 Grammy awards, a lifetime achievement award and in 1987, she was the first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
In 2017, the songstress announced plans to retire from performing in concert and performed her last show that year at the Elton John AIDS Foundation Gala. Aretha is survived by her four sons, Ted White Jr., Kecalf Cunningham, Clarence Franklin and Edward Franklin and a host of grandchildren, nieces and nephews.