Aretha Franklin, the “Queen of Soul”, has died aged 76.
In a statement released today on behalf of her family, it was announced that Franklin had passed away this morning (16th August) at home in Detroit after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. She was surrounded by family and friends.
The legendary Detroit-raised singer is globally celebrated for her many hits including ‘Respect’, ‘(You Make Me Feel) Like a Natural Woman’, ‘Chain of Fools’ and ‘I Say a Little Prayer’ to name but a few.
In 1987, Franklin became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Throughout a career spanning over six decades, the singer sold over 75 million records, making her one of the biggest selling artists of all time. She won 18 Grammys throughout her life, including the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994.
Franklin had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2010 and announced in 2017 that she would be retiring from music that year. Prior to her retirement she was forced to cancel a number of shows due to health concerns.
She gave her final performance in November 2017 at a gala event in New York for the Elton John Aids Foundation.
The sad news of Aretha Franklin's passing comes just days after it was announced that she was "gravely ill" in her Detroit home.
You can read the statement released by her family below.
"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," Franklin's family said.
"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."
A true legend. Rest in peace.