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R.I.P. Aretha Franklin

The Queen of Soul Has Died at Age 76

Aug 16, 2018 Aretha Franklin
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Aretha Franklin, who had the title of The Queen of Soul, has died at age 76. She passed away at her home in Detroit, as reported by various outlets, including the Associated Press, who reports that the cause of death was pancreatic cancer. There were also recent reports that she was ill and back in March she cancelled two concerts on doctor’s orders.

Franklin was born in 1942 in Memphis to a gospel singer mother and a reverend father. By the time she was five the family had relocated to Detroit by way of Buffalo. In 1948 Franklin’s parents separated and she stayed with her dad in Detroit, while her mother and half brother moved back to Buffalo. Her mother died when Franklin was nearly 10. Franklin started as a gospel singer, singing in her father’s church, and consequently her 1956 debut album was titled Songs of Faith. It was in the following decade that she became a popular music icon. Her 1967 cover of Otis Redding’s “Respect” was a #1 hit and became a civil rights and feminist anthem. In 1968 she released two hit albums, Lady Soul and Aretha Now, featuring iconic versions of “Chain of Fools,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman,” “Think,” and “I Say a Little Prayer.” Her career continued on from there through the decades. She had a memorable cameo in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers. In 1987 she became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She sang at the Presidential inaugurations of Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama, as well as at the funeral for civil rights icon Rosa Parks. In 2005 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush. Franklin was still performing up until last November and last year was reportedly working on a final album with Stevie Wonder.

Franklin had four sons, the oldest born when she was only 12 years old. Franklin’s family has issued this statement about her passing to the Associated Press:

“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.”

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