Aretha Franklin has passed away at the age of 76. According to the Associated Press, the “Queen of Soul’s” publicist confirmed her death in her Detroit home Thursday morning. She was surrounded by family and friends at the time of her passing.
“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,” the singer’s family told the Associated Press. “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.”
According to TMZ, the singer was under hospice care and had been in failing health for the past few months following a long battle with pancreatic cancer. The singer remained frail toward the end of her life, rarely making public appearances. One source shares that the singer’s weight even dropped down to a mere 86 pounds as she battled the deadly disease.
Earlier this week, the Inquisitr reported that Franklin was gravely ill, though her exact condition or details of the illness were not disclosed. And as news broke of Franklin’s ailing health, many celebrities in the music industry posted messages of prayer and support on social media, including Sister Sledge.
“We speak life and health to Aretha in the name of Jesus. Our thoughts and prayers are with her and her loved ones at this difficult time.”
Aretha Franklin has died. Her voice was a pure, painful, and unforgettable expression of American history and American feeling, the collective experience of black Americans and her own life. https://t.co/2F2evnNpLR— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) August 16, 2018
“My prayers are with Aretha Franklin & her family during this difficult time LOOK BELOW @ what I tweeted at the top of the year we MUST CELEBRATE the Living Legends while they are here to see it. So many have given us decades of Timeless music,” Missy Elliott tweeted.
Franklin was known for her classic hits like “Respect,” “Chain of Fools,” and “Natural Woman.” According to Fox News, Franklin canceled a pair of scheduled concerts this past March citing “doctor’s orders.” One of her last performances was fittingly a free concert in her hometown of Detroit in June of 2017. She ended the concert with a message to fans, hinting at her ongoing health issues.
“God bless you, God keep you, keep me in your prayers.”
Franklin was the daughter of a Baptist minister and began singing in the church choir at a young age. The Queen of Soul was born in Memphis but grew up in the Detroit area. It was in the early ’60s that she would land her first record deal with Columbia Records before later switching to the Atlantic Record label.
Throughout her storied career, she was the winner of many prestigious awards including The National Medal of Arts, The Presidential Medal of Freedom, 18 Grammy Awards, and in 1987, she was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.
Franklin leaves behind four sons: Clarence, Edward, Ted, and Kecalf.