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Soul queen Aretha Franklin has died aged 76

Soul queen Aretha Franklin has died aged 76

vintage headshot of Aretha Franklin

Legendary soul singer Aretha Franklin has passed away in her Detroit home on Thursday her publicist confirmed. She died of pancreatic cancer and is survived by her four children.

A long time supporter of HIV/AIDS charities, she performed live for the final time at Elton John’s AIDS gala in New York in November last year.

Franklin’s music became a powerful voice for the civil rights and women’s rights movements.

Her big hits included I Say A Little Prayer and Chain of Fools. Her biggest hit and feminist anthem, Respect, went to number one in the US and hit the UK top ten.

Born in Memphis, Tennessee Franklin grew up in Detroit, Michigan. She enjoyed a career spanning six decades and was known for her powerhouse vocal skills.

Franklin received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1979.

Over the course of her career she won 18 Grammy awards. In 2013, Rolling Stone magazine named Franklin the best singer of all time.

She released 42 albums and had 118 singles hit the Billboard charts during her career. In 2005, President George W Bush awarded her the US’ highest civilian honor, the the Presidential Medal of Freedom award.

Surrounded by family


Franklin’s family released a statement shortly after the singer’s death. In it they said she was surrounded by her family when she died.

‘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,’ the statement read.

‘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.’

Snatch that wig, Aretha


Named the Queen of Soul, Franklin was one of the most revered singers of all time and started her career as a gospel singer.

One of Franklin’s most memorable final performances was at the Kennedy Center Honors Gala in 2016. The night honored Carole King, but it was Franklin who stole the show.

She left the star studded audience – including Barack and Michelle Obama – shaking and in tears.

Watch her legendary performace: