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After a long illness, Aretha Franklin, the undisputed Queen of Soul has died at her home in Detroit surrounded by family.
A family statement read: “Franklin’s official cause of death was due to advanced pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, which was confirmed by Franklin’s oncologist, Dr Philip Phillips of Karmanos Cancer Institute. 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.”

Beginning as a teenage gospel singer, the daughter of a preacher carved a career like no other and went on to sell 75 million records. A gifted singer and pianist, in her formative years, Franklin toured with her father’s traveling revival show and later visited New York, where she signed with Columbia Records. Franklin went on to release several popular singles, many of which are now considered classics such as Respect, Chain of Fools, You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman, Think, I Say A Little Prayer and many more. Aretha became the world’s greatest soul singer. No matter what genre she chose to dabble in, it had soul. Her label “the queen of soul” was not record company hype, it was fact. She won 18 Grammy awards, had 77 entries in the US Billboard Hot 100 and 20 No 1 singles on the R&B chart.

Franklin received numerous honours throughout her career, including a 1987 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, becoming the first female performer to be inducted. She was inducted to the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. In August 2012, she was inducted into the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame.Franklin is listed in at least two all-time lists on Rolling Stone magazine, including the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, and the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. Aretha received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1979, had her voice declared a Michigan “natural resource” in 1985

In a statement from former president Barack Obama and wife Michelle, they said, “In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade — our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect. She helped us feel more connected to each other, more hopeful, more human. And sometimes she helped us just forget about everything else and dance.”

Paul McCartney Tweeted, “Let’s all take a moment to give thanks for the beautiful life of Aretha Franklin, the Queen of our souls, who inspired us all for many many years.”

Barbra Streisand wrote, “Not only was she a uniquely brilliant singer, but her commitment to civil rights made an indelible impact on the world.”

Her influence stretched far among female African-American singers, from Tina Turner and Whitney Houston to Ms Lauryn Hill, whom Franklin worked with in 1998, and Beyonce, who sung a version of Precious Lord at the Grammys in 2015.
Franklin suffered from depression and alcoholism over the years, and her health began to decline in 2010, when she had a tumour removed.

On August 13, 2018, Franklin was reported to be gravely ill at her home in Riverfront Towers, Detroit. She was reported to be under hospice care and surrounded by friends and family. Stevie Wonder, Jesse Jackson, and ex-husband Glynn Turman, among others, visited her on her deathbed. Franklin died at home on August 16, 2018, aged 76. The cause was reported to be advanced pancreatic cancer.

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