Aretha Franklin, the legendary undisputed Queen of Soul, has died today (August 16) at her home in Detroit due to advanced pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, her family revealed in a statement via her publicist. She was 76 years old. Franklin’s family stated:
“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.
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.”
Aretha Franklin recorded hundreds of tracks and had dozens of hits over the span of a half century, including 20 that reached No. 1 on the R&B charts. But her reputation was defined by an extraordinary run of top 10 smashes in the late 1960s, from the morning-after bliss of “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” to the wised-up “Chain of Fools” to her unstoppable call for “Respect.”
Franklin won a total of 18 Grammy Awards during her career and sold over 75 million records worldwide. In 1987, she became the first female performer to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
She performed for U.S. presidents including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, and was also tapped to commemorate the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at his funeral in 1968.