The true Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, has sadly died at the age of 76, her publicist has confirmed. The famous singer, who was suffering from stage 4 pancreatic cancer died at her home in Detroit, USA on Thursday morning surrounded by friends and family. Her relatives said they had “lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins knew no bounds.”. The legendary singer was reported to be “gravely ill” on Monday, with her family gathering at her bedside in her hometown. During this time, she was visited by the likes of Stevie Wonder, Jesse Jackson and her ex-husband, actor Glynn Turman. Aretha’s career spanned over 60 years and made her an icon of American music. During this time, she earned 18 Grammys and became the first ever woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Born in 1942, Aretha grew up singing gospel at her local church in Detroit and released her first album, aged just 14, in 1956 with ‘Songs of Faith’. However, it was not until a decade later until she had her first major hit when ‘I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)’ became her first single to crack the Billboard top 10. Songs like ‘I Say A Little Prayer’ and ‘Respect’ later went on to make her a giant of American soul and pop music. She continued to have great success throughout the later years of her career and last year saw her release her most recent record, ‘A Brand New Me’, which marked her 42nd studio album. One of the defining moments of her career came when she was invited to perform at President Barack Obama’s inaugural ceremony in 2009, where she moved fans with her rendition of ‘My Country ‘Tis of Thee’.
The following year, she was diagnosed with cancer, but later made a triumphant return to the stage in 2013, following surgery. She was last seen performing in August 2017 at Elton John’s AIDS Foundation Party, where it was claimed that she was “fighting exhaustion and dehydration”. The same year, she was also forced to deny a death hoax, after fake news of her death spread online. She issued a statement on the matter, in which she revealed she had lost a lot of weight due to her medication. Aretha leaves behind four children. She gave birth to the eldest, Clarence, when she was just 12-years-old.
by Robbie Mackay