'Queen of Soul' Aretha Franklin dies, aged 76 after cancer battle

Laura Hannam

Aretha Franklin, the ‘Queen of Soul’, has died aged 76 after battling cancer. 

The US singer, whose career spanned seven decades, passed away at her home in Detroit, Michigan, on Thursday, surrounded by her family.

Franklin had more than 20 US number one hits over a career that spans back to 1952.

Known for hits like ‘Respect,’ ‘Think’ and ‘Chain of Fools,’ she gave her final performance November 2017 at a New York gala in aid of the Elton John Aids Foundation.

Aretha Franklin has passed at her Detroit home, report.

Franklin’s publicist Gwendolyn Quinn has confirmed she died Thursday morning August 16 of pancreatic cancer. Quinn released the following statement:

“It is with deep and profound sadness that we announce the passing of Aretha Louise Franklin, the Queen of Soul.

“Franklin … passed away on Thursday morning, August 16 at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit, MI, surrounded by family and loved ones. 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.

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.

Franklin performed at President Barack Obama’s Presidential Inauguration Ceremony in 2009. (REX/Shutterstock)

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.”

Franklin’s death comes three days after it was revealed she was in hospice care. She passed away surrounded by friends and family.

In the last few days she was visited by several high profile friends, including Stevie Wonder, Reverend Jesse Jackson and her ex-husband actor Glynn Turman.

Former US president Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary paid tribute to “one of America’s greatest national treasures”.

They said in a statement: “For more than 50 years, she stirred our souls. She was elegant, graceful, and utterly uncompromising in her artistry.

Aretha Franklin performing during the BET Honors at the Warner Theatre in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

“Aretha’s first music school was the church and her performances were powered by what she learned there. I’ll always be grateful for her kindness and support, including her performances at both my inaugural celebrations, and for the chance to be there for what sadly turned out to be her final performance last November at a benefit supporting the fight against HIV/Aids.

“She will forever be the Queen of Soul and so much more to all who knew her personally and through her music. Our hearts go out to her family and her countless fans.”

Tributes from celebrities and public figures have begun to pour in on social media…