Aretha Franklin dies aged 76 at her Detroit home

Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin dies aged 76 at her Detroit home after a long battle with pancreatic cancer surrounded by her friends and family who say, ‘We have lost our matriarch and rock’

  • Aretha Franklin died at 9.50am on Thursday surrounded by family at her home in Detroit aged 76
  • She had been battling advanced pancreatic cancer and was under hospice care
  • Her family said they were devastated to have ‘lost the matriarch and rock of our family’
  • The undisputed Queen of Soul had announced her retirement from touring in November last year
  • Franklin recorded hundreds of tracks and had dozens of hits over the span of a half century 
  • She won 18 Grammy awards and in 1987 became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 
  • John Legend, Barbra Streisand and The Clintons were among the first to pay tribute to the singer

Aretha Franklin, the long-reigning Queen of Soul, died on Thursday morning at age 76 from advanced pancreatic cancer.

She passed away at 9.50am surrounded by family and friends at her home in Detroit where she had been under hospice care.

Franklin’s family said her oncologist confirmed her cause of death was due to the pancreatic cancer she had been battling.

‘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,’ a statement from her family read.

‘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.’ 

Scroll down for video 

Aretha Franklin, the long-reigning Queen of Soul, died on Thursday morning at age 76 from advance pancreatic cancer. She is pictured at her last public performance in New York in November last year

Funeral arrangements will be announced in the coming days.

Franklin, who sang with matchless style on such classics as ‘Think,’ ‘I Say a Little Prayer’ and her signature song, ‘Respect’, announced her retirement from touring last year. 

The mother-of-four had battled various undisclosed health issues in recent years.

Her last public performance was at Elton John’s AIDS Foundation gala in New York in November last year.  

A professional singer by her late teens and a superstar by her mid-20s, Franklin had long ago settled any arguments over who was the greatest popular vocalist of her time.

She recorded hundreds of tracks and had dozens of hits over the span of a half century, including 20 that reached No. 1 on the R&B charts. 

Her records sold millions of copies and the music industry couldn’t honor her enough. Franklin won 18 Grammy awards and in 1987 she became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

Franklin was the undisputed Queen of Soul who sang with matchless style on such classics as ‘Think,’ ″I Say a Little Prayer’ and her signature song, ‘Respect’, and stood as a cultural icon around the globe


Franklin (left in 2017 and right in 2005) recorded hundreds of tracks and had dozens of hits over the span of a half century, including 20 that reached No. 1 on the R&B charts

Her last public performance was at Elton John’s AIDS Foundation gala in New York in November last year (pictured above)

Fellow singers bowed to her eminence and political and civic leaders treated her as a peer. 

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was a longtime friend, and she sang at the dedication of King’s memorial, in 2011. She also performed at the funeral for civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks in 2005.

She also performed at the inaugurations of Presidents Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama. 

Franklin was awarded the National Medal of the Arts by Clinton and President George W. Bush awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 2005.

Her best-known appearance with a president was in January 2009 when she sang ‘My Country ’tis of Thee’ at Obama’s inauguration. She wore a gray felt hat with a huge, Swarovski rhinestone-bordered bow that became an Internet sensation and even had its own website.

In 2015, she brought Obama and others to tears with a triumphant performance of ‘Natural Woman’ at a Kennedy Center tribute to the song’s co-writer, Carole King.

Soon after news of her death was announced, celebrities took to social media to mourn the loss of the Queen of Soul. John Legend, Barbra Streisand and The Clintons were among the first to share touching notes about Franklin. 

more videos

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

    • Watch video

      Husband of missing Fredrick woman ‘confesses’ to killing them


    • Watch video

      Aretha Franklin, legendary ‘Queen of Soul,’ has died at age 76


    • Watch video

      Shocking moment barmaid attacks woman for slapping her on the bum


    • Watch video

      180 whales slaughtered as village in Faroe Islands prepares for winter


    • Watch video

      Mollie Tibbetts’ brother: I believe she is still alive


    • Watch video

      Horrifying CCTV of boy trying to throw girlfriend in front of train


    • Watch video

      Synthetic marijuana causes 76 people to overdose in New Haven


    • Watch video

      Aerial video shows full destruction of collapsed bridge in Genoa


    • Watch video

      Sons murder their father then kill selves after SWAT standoff


    • Watch video

      New York Gov Andrew Cuomo: America was never that great


    • Watch video

      Chris Watts makes appeal over missing family before his arrest


    • Watch video

      Boy pleads guilty for trying to push girlfriend in front of train


    Franklin was treated as a peer by political and civic leaders having performed at multiple inaugurations. She is pictured above with Barack Obama in Washington in 2015 and Bill Clinton in 2017

    Her best-known appearance with a president was in January 2009 when she sang at Obama’s inauguration. Her gray felt hat with a Swarovski rhinestone-bordered bow became an Internet sensation and even had its own website

    more videos

    • 1
    • 2
    • 3

      • Watch video

        Husband of missing Fredrick woman ‘confesses’ to killing them


      • Watch video

        Aretha Franklin, legendary ‘Queen of Soul,’ has died at age 76


      • Watch video

        Shocking moment barmaid attacks woman for slapping her on the bum


      • Watch video

        180 whales slaughtered as village in Faroe Islands prepares for winter


      • Watch video

        Mollie Tibbetts’ brother: I believe she is still alive


      • Watch video

        Horrifying CCTV of boy trying to throw girlfriend in front of train


      • Watch video

        Synthetic marijuana causes 76 people to overdose in New Haven


      • Watch video

        Aerial video shows full destruction of collapsed bridge in Genoa


      • Watch video

        Sons murder their father then kill selves after SWAT standoff


      • Watch video

        New York Gov Andrew Cuomo: America was never that great


      • Watch video

        Chris Watts makes appeal over missing family before his arrest


      • Watch video

        Boy pleads guilty for trying to push girlfriend in front of train

      ARETHA FRANKLIN TRIBUTES: STARS SHARE TOUCHING NOTES AFTER LEGEND DIES

      Soon after news of her death was announced, celebrities took to social media to mourn the loss of the Queen of Soul. John Legend, Barbra Streisand and The Clintons were among the first to share touching notes about Franklin.

      Streisand wrote that it’s ‘difficult to conceive of a world without her’ alongside a photo of them together in 2012.

      President Bill Clinton and wife Hillary issued a joint statement saying they were mourning the loss of their friend and describing her as a ‘national treasure’.

      ‘For more than 50 years, she stirred our souls. She was elegant, graceful, and utterly uncompromising in her artistry,’ they wrote. 


       


       


       

      ‘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.’

      Elton John memorialized his ‘favourite pianist’ in a series of notes shared on Twitter: ‘The loss of @ArethaFranklin is a blow for everybody who loves real music: Music from the heart, the soul and the Church. Her voice was unique, her piano playing underrated – she was one of my favourite pianists.

      ‘I was fortunate enough to spend time with her and witness her last performance – a benefit for @ejaf at St John The Divine Cathedral. She was obviously unwell, and I wasn’t sure she could perform. But Aretha did and she raised the roof. 

      ‘She sang and played magnificently, and we all wept,’ Elton wrote. ‘We were witnessing the greatest soul artist of all time. I adored her and worshipped her talent. God bless her. My condolences to all her family and friends. We shared the same birthday – and that meant so much to me.’ 

      Diana Ross wrote that she was ‘sitting in prayer for the wonderful golden spirit Aretha Franklin.’

      Paul McCartney also shared a touching note, saying: ‘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’ 

       

      Franklin endured the exhausting grind of celebrity and personal troubles dating way back to childhood. She had two sons by the time she was 16 and was often in turmoil as she struggled with her weight, family problems and financial predicaments. 

      She was married from 1961 to 1969 to her manager, Ted White, and their battles are widely believed to have inspired her performances on several songs, including ‘(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone,’ ″Think’ and her heartbreaking ballad of despair, ‘Ain’t No Way.’ 

      Franklin married actor Glynn Turman in 1978 in Los Angeles but returned to her hometown of Detroit the following year after her father was shot by burglars and left semi-comatose until his death in 1984. She and Turman divorced that year. 

      Franklin, who was born March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up with her father Rev. C.L. Franklin in Detroit. He was among the most prominent Baptist ministers of his time and recorded dozens of albums of sermons and music.

      It was at her father’s New Bethel Baptist Church that Franklin, who began playing piano at age 8, learned the gospel fundamentals that would make her a soul institution. 

      Music was the family business and performers from Sam Cooke to Lou Rawls were guests at the Franklin house. In the living room, a shy young Aretha awed friends with her playing on the grand piano.

      Franklin was in her early teens when she began touring with her father and she released a gospel album in 1956 through J-V-B Records. Four years later, she signed with Columbia Records producer John Hammond, who called Franklin the most exciting singer he had heard since a vocalist he promoted decades earlier, Billie Holiday.

      She recorded several albums for Columbia Records over the next six years. She had a handful of minor hits, including ‘Rock-A-Bye Your Baby With a Dixie Melody’ and ‘Runnin’ Out of Fools’. 

      She was married from 1961 to 1969 to her manager, Ted White, (above) and their battles are widely believed to have inspired her performances on several songs


      Her records sold millions of copies and the music industry couldn’t honor her enough. Franklin won 18 Grammy awards and in 1987 she became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

      more videos

      • 1
      • 2
      • 3

        • Watch video

          Husband of missing Fredrick woman ‘confesses’ to killing them


        • Watch video

          Aretha Franklin, legendary ‘Queen of Soul,’ has died at age 76


        • Watch video

          Shocking moment barmaid attacks woman for slapping her on the bum


        • Watch video

          180 whales slaughtered as village in Faroe Islands prepares for winter


        • Watch video

          Mollie Tibbetts’ brother: I believe she is still alive


        • Watch video

          Horrifying CCTV of boy trying to throw girlfriend in front of train


        • Watch video

          Synthetic marijuana causes 76 people to overdose in New Haven


        • Watch video

          Aerial video shows full destruction of collapsed bridge in Genoa


        • Watch video

          Sons murder their father then kill selves after SWAT standoff


        • Watch video

          New York Gov Andrew Cuomo: America was never that great


        • Watch video

          Chris Watts makes appeal over missing family before his arrest


        • Watch video

          Boy pleads guilty for trying to push girlfriend in front of train

        Franklin jumped to Atlantic Records when her contract ran out in 1966. Her hits, including ‘I Say a Little Prayer,’ ‘Natural Woman’ and ‘Respect’ soon followed.

        In 1968, Franklin was pictured on the cover of Time magazine and had more than 10 Top 20 hits in 1967 and 1968. At a time of rebellion and division, Franklin’s records were a musical union.

        Her popularity faded during the 1970s despite such hits as the funky ‘Rock Steady’ and such acclaimed albums as the intimate ‘Spirit in the Dark.’ But her career was revived in 1980 with a cameo appearance in the smash movie ‘The Blues Brothers’ and her switch to Arista Records. 

        Franklin collaborated with such pop and soul artists as Luther Vandross, Elton John, Whitney Houston and George Michael, with whom she recorded a No. 1 single, ‘I Knew You Were Waiting (for Me).’ Her 1985 album ‘Who’s Zoomin’ Who’ received some of her best reviews and included such hits as the title track and ‘Freeway of Love.’ 

        Franklin occasionally performed at her father’s New Bethel Baptist church throughout her career and recorded her 1987 gospel album ‘One Lord One Faith One Baptism’ live there. 

        Fame never eclipsed Franklin’s charitable works, or her loyalty to Detroit. Franklin sang the national anthem at Super Bowl in her hometown in 2006, after grousing that Detroit’s rich musical legacy was being snubbed when the Rolling Stones were chosen as halftime performers.

        She only released a few albums over the past two decades, including ‘A Rose is Still a Rose,’ which featured songs by Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, Lauryn Hill and other contemporary artists, and ‘So Damn Happy,’ for which Franklin wrote the gratified title ballad. 

        WHAT IS PANCREATIC CANCER? 

        Pancreatic cancer is one of the most lethal forms of the disease. Around 95 percent of people who contract it die from it. Steve Jobs, Joan Crawford, Patrick Swayze, and Luciano Pavarotti all died of pancreatic cancer. 

        It is the fourth-leading killer in the United States. Around 10,000 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year in the UK, and 50,000 in the US.

        WHAT IS THE CAUSE? 

        It is caused by the abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells in the pancreas – a large gland in the digestive system.

        WHO HAS THE HIGHEST RISK?

        Most cases (90 percent) are in people over the age of 55. Around half of all new cases occur in people aged 75 or older. One in 10 cases are attributed to genetics. Other causes include age, smoking and other health conditions, including diabetes. About 80 percent of pancreatic cancer patients have some form of diabetes. 

        WHY IS IT SO LETHAL?

        There is no screening method for pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer typically does not show symptoms in the early stages, when it would be more manageable. Sufferers tend to start developing the tell-tale signs – jaundice and abdominal pain – around stage 3 or 4, when it has likely already spread to other organs. 

        WHAT ARE THE SURVIVAL RATES? 

        For all stages of pancreatic cancer combined, the one-year survival rate is 20 percent. At five years, that rate falls to just nine percent. If the cancer is caught in stage 1A, the five year survival rates is about 14 percent and 12 percent for 1B. 

        At stage 2, those rates are seven and five percent, respectively. For a pancreatic cancer in its third stage, only three percent of people will survive another five yaers. By stage IV, the five-year survival rate falls to just one percent.  

        WHAT ARE THE TREATMENT OPTIONS? 

        The only effective treatment is removal of the pancreas. This proves largely ineffective for those whose cancer has spread to other organs. In those cases, palliative care is advised to ease their pain at the end of their life. 

        Source: Read Full Article