Legendary musician Aretha Franklin passed away at 76 on Thursday in Detroit. The star’s publicist confirmed the news to the Associated Press.
The 18-time Grammy winner was known as the “Queen of Soul” for hits like “Respect,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” and “I Say a Little Prayer for You.” Born in Memphis, Tenn., in 1942, she rose to fame in the ‘60s, eventually becoming the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987; she was later dubbed the Greatest Singer of All Time by Rolling Stone in 2011.
Showbiz411’s Roger Friedman first broke the news that Franklin was “gravely ill” on Sunday evening. He reported that her family was “asking for prayers and privacy” as they joined her at her bedside in Detroit. The family confirmed the news to WDIV Local 4 on Monday.
NBC reporter Harry Hairston also provided an update.
According to TMZ, Franklin was battling cancer and down to just 86 pounds. Her family was advised that “she could go anytime” two weeks ago. And on Tuesday, Friedman told CNN’s Don Lemon that the singer was in hospice care at her home. “She has a great family, she’s surrounded by love, and the world is sending prayers. All further announcements will be made by her family. We just want to send love and prayers,” he said.
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Franklin was rumored to be battling pancreatic cancer in 2010, and in 2011 denied reports that she was ill, calling them “rumors” and saying, “they were just ridiculous. I feel fabulous.” Though she told fans that she would retire in February 2017, Franklin’s last performance was months later in November 2017 at the annual Elton John AIDS Foundation gala.
“I must tell you, I am retiring this year,” told Detroit Local 4. “I feel very enriched and satisfied with respect to where my career came from, and where it is now.” According to the Chicago Sun Times, Franklin — whose last album, Divas, was released in 2016 —planned to release an upcoming compilation album, The Atlantic Singles Collection 1967-1970, this September.
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