Aretha Franklin has died at her home in Detroit, according to her publicist. The long-reigning “Queen of Soul” who sang with matchless style on such classics as Think and her signature song, Respect, died at her home in Detroit.
She had been suffering from advanced pancreatic cancer, her representative Gwendolyn Quinn said. A family statement said: “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 76-year-old cancelled planned concerts earlier this year after she was ordered by her doctor to stay off the road and rest.
The Respect singer revealed she was going to retire after releasing one more album in February last year.
She told Detroit news anchor Evrod Cassimy at the time: “I must tell you, I am retiring this year. I will be recording, but this will be my last year in concert. This is it.”
Franklin’s most recent performance was in November last year at Elton John’s Aids Foundation’s 25th anniversary gala in New York.
Franklin – and her distinctive, powerful voice – rose to fame in the 1960s after starting out as a gospel singer, going on to achieve massive global success with memorable soul hits including Respect, Think and (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.
She has sold more than 75 million records worldwide and has bagged a large number of top industry awards, 18 of which are Grammys, and she was also the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and was awarded the Presidential medal of Freedom in 2005.
Franklin is known for unmatchable singing voice as well her outstanding live concerts. In 2015 Aretha Franklin performed at the Kennedy Centre Honours in which she paid tribute to Carole King.
Franklin brought the house down with a spectacular performance of (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, which was co-written by King, and brought then US President Barack Obama to tears.