Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul died Thursday morning. She was 76. The singer and songwriter died from advance pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type. Franklin was diagnosed with cancer last 2010. Last year, she retired from music. With a career spanning 7 decades, the self-taught piano prodigy started reigning the charts during the 60’s.
“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 family said in a statement.
Reports say the singer has been suffering from her condition for the longest time. At the advice of family and friends, Franklin has kept her private regarding the matter.
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Aretha was a musical phenomenon, crossing racial and gender barriers. She was born in Memphis to a gospel musician and a celebrated Baptist preacher. Hence, she started her career singing at her father’s Detroit church. Mentored by gospel stars Mahalia Jackson and Clara Ward at an early age, she quickly gained the admiration of her local community. However, even with her powerful voice, she struggled with finding fame in her youth.
In 1967, “Respect” topped charts at the national level and the rest they say, is history. With 77 Hot 100 chart entries, 18 Grammys from 44 nominations, the multi-awarded singer became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and later on, named the Greatest Singer of All Time by Rolling Stone.
Rolling Stone has said, “Aretha Franklin is not only the definitive female soul singer of the ’60s, she’s also one of the most influential and important voices in pop history”. Famous artists and personalities mourned her loss. Fans and friends alike took to social media to bid farewell to one of music’s greatest icons.
Funeral arrangements will be announced in the coming days.