Queen of Soul Dies at 76


Aretha Franklin has died at age 76 following her long battle with cancer, the Associated Press announced on Thursday, August 16.

On Monday, August 13, a source told Us that Franklin was “comfortable at home” but “not doing well” and that her body was “breaking down.”

“[She] is hanging in there, but recovery is not looking likely,” the insider added.

Earlier that morning, Detroit’s WDIV-TV reported Franklin was “gravely ill” and asking for fans’ prayers. Later that morning, the NBC affiliate announced the singer was “resting and surrounded by close friends and family.”

The 18-time Grammy winner had battling health issues since 2010. Her ailments were never publicly disclosed, but in 2011 she denied that she had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, as had been rumored at the time.

Then, in November 2017, Franklin debunked death rumors in an emailed statement exclusively sent to Us Weekly. “I’m doing well generally, all test have come back good,” she told Us. “I’ve lost a lot of weight due to side effects of medicine, it affects your weight … Thanxxxx for your concern.”

Aretha Franklin performs during the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival Opening Gala premiere of “Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of our Lives” at Radio City Music Hall on April 19, 2017 in New York City. Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Franklin, the daughter of pastor and civil rights activist C. L. Franklin, was born in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1942. After growing up singing gospel music, she achieved stardom in the late 1960s with such hits as “Respect,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” and “Think.” She sold more than 75 million records throughout her career and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. In 2010, Rolling Stone hailed the “Queen of Soul” as the greatest singer of all time.

In February 2017, Franklin revealed she was officially retiring. “I feel very, very enriched and satisfied with respect to where my career came from and where it is now,” she told WDIV-TV at the time. “I’ll be pretty much satisfied, but I’m not going to go anywhere and just sit down and do nothing. That wouldn’t be good either.”

Franklin is survived by four children: Clarence Franklin, 63, Edward Franklin, 61, Ted White Jr., 54, and Kecalf Cunningham, 48.

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