Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin dies aged 76

Aretha Franklin news ‘Gravely ill’ singer is'at peace with her journey

Franklin, 76, had been in failing health, suffering from advanced pancreatic cancer, according to her publicist. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family, ' a statement from her family read.

'We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. "Thank you for your compassion and prayers", they also said.

Her biggest hits, which gained her worldwide fame, included classics such as Respect, (You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman), Chain of Fools, I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You) and Think.

After a 56-year career, Aretha Franklin chose to put down the mic and announced her retirement in 2017.

Celebrities and fans are paying tribute to the singer, sharing their favourite songs and memories of Aretha.

She was married twice and had four sons, first giving birth when she was 12 years old.

Through six decades of legendary music, Franklin inspired time and again, even earning the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005 "for helping to shape our Nation's artistic and cultural heritage". Her last performance was the 25th anniversary gala for the Elton John AIDS Foundation, which was held in November 2017. For more than 50 years, she stirred our souls. "From seeing her as a baby singing and playing at the piano at her father's home, to her giving a rousing performance at the White House, she has always been wonderful". And Aretha is a gift from God", Rolling Stone magazine wrote, in naming her the greatest singer of all time. "When it comes to expressing yourself through song, there is no one who can touch her.

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Aretha's career spanned over 60 years and made her an icon of American music.

"Born in Memphis and raised in Detroit, Aretha Franklin grew up performing gospel songs in her father's congregation", the former first couple said in the joint statement.

The singer told Larry King at the time that she couldn't properly articulate the feeling she had watching the first African-American president being sworn in.

In recent years she was doted for showing up when called upon, either at ceremonies celebrating the past, or at Barack Obama's 2009 inauguration where she famously wore a metric ton of fabric on her head.

Her records sold millions of copies and the music industry couldn't honor her enough.

"Let's all take a moment to give thanks for the handsome life of Aretha Franklin, the Queen of our souls, who inspired us all for many many years".

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