It is with great sadness to report that Aretha Franklin, the “Queen of Soul” has passed away. She died of advanced pancreatic cancer. She was just 76 years old.
She died at her home just before 10:00 am, according to reports.
Ms. Franklin was best known for her classic songs including “Respect” and “Chain of Fools.”
The family released a statement:
“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.”
FOX News reports that Franklin had dealt with undisclosed health issues that had kept her off stage in recent months. In March of 2018, she canceled a pair of scheduled concerts in due to what her management described as doctor’s orders. In subsequent months, she canceled scheduled performances in Boston and Toronto with management again saying that her doctors had told her to “stay off the road and rest completely.”
At one of her last public performances, in June 2017, she closed out a free concert in her hometown of Detroit with the message: “God bless you, God keep you, keep me in your prayers.”
TMZ reports that Aretha had an incredible career. Born in Memphis in 1942, her family eventually relocated to Detroit where she began singing in her father’s church. She was such a powerhouse gospel singer, she landed a Columbia record deal in the early ’60s.
Her string of chart-topping hits began with her Atlantic Records deal in 1967.
Aretha’s achievements in the late ’60s were remarkable for any artist, but especially so for a black woman in the midst of the Civil Rights movement. She held the record for the most entries on the Hot 100 list of any female artist for nearly 40 years, only to be dethroned in 2017 by Nicki Minaj.
She won 18 Grammys and was the first woman ever inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
Franklin was married twice, to Ted White, who became her personal manager, and to actor Glynn Turman. She also had a seven-year relationship with her road manager, Ken Cunningham.
She was the mother of four sons: Clarence, Edward, Ted and Kecalf.
Our thoughts and prayer go out to her family and friends.
Rest in peace.