Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin Dead at 76

With such legendary hits as “Think” and “Respect“, the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin died this morning at the age of 76.

Franklin’s longtime publicist, Gwendolyn Quinn, confirmed in a statement today (Thursday, August 16th) the date, time and cause of death.

“It is with deep and profound sadness that we announce the passing of Aretha Louise Franklin, the Queen of Soul,” the statement reads. “Franklin, 76 years old, passed away on Thursday morning, August 16 at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit, MI, surrounded by family and loved ones. Franklin’s official cause of death was due to advance pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, which was confirmed by Franklin’s Oncologist, Dr. Philip Phillips of Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, MI.”

Funeral arrangements for Franklin will be announced in the coming days.

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Looking to her peers in the music industry, Elton John noted to Billboard in 2003 that, “She is the greatest soul singer ever – and one of the most underrated pianists.” Added former label boss Clive Davis in a 2015 interview, “Aretha belongs to all-time hits that still resonate.”

The singer was no stranger to the silver screen or making public appearances including the 1980 classic film Blues Brothers as well as singing the National Anthem at President Obama’s Inauguration and participating in the April 9, 1968 funeral of Martin Luther King Jr.

The first woman to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, at the core of Franklin’s talent was something she never lost touch with: her gospel roots. Growing up, Franklin and sisters Carolyn and Erma sang together in the New Bethel choir. By her teens, Franklin was touring as an opening act on her father’s gospel show, an experience that introduced her to stars in both the gospel and secular worlds, including Sam Cooke and the Staple Singers.

After 14-year-old Franklin released her first album, Songs of Faith for Checker Records‘ JVB gospel division, the rest was history.

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