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.
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.
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.
Aretha helped define the American experience. In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade—our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect. May the Queen of Soul rest in eternal peace. pic.twitter.com/bfASqKlLc5
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) 16 August 2018
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’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…
Let’s all take a moment to give thanks for the beautiful life of Aretha Franklin, the Queen of our souls, who inspired us all for many many years. She will be missed but the memory of her greatness as a musician and a fine human being will live with us forever. Love Paul pic.twitter.com/jW4Gpwfdts
— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) August 16, 2018
The greatest voice in American popular music has been stilled. Our beloved #ArethaFranklin has gone. For me, she was a musical lighthouse, guiding and inspiring with every note. I loved her so and love her still. Goodbye, Queen of Soul.
— Bette Midler (@BetteMidler) August 16, 2018
The whole world will miss her but will always rejoice in her remarkable legacy. The Queen is dead. Long live the Queen. #RIPArethaFranklin
— Elton John (@eltonofficial) August 16, 2018
— Carole King (@Carole_King) August 16, 2018
— Rev Jesse Jackson Sr (@RevJJackson) August 16, 2018