Aretha Franklin, the 'Queen of Soul,' Dead at 76

Esequiel Farfan
Agosto 17, 2018

For six decades, the world had countless opportunities to be stunned by the talent and range of the undisputed Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, who died Thursday at 76 of pancreatic cancer.

Publicist Gwendolyn Quinn tells The Associated Press through a family statement that Franklin passed Thursday at 9:50 a.m.at her home in Detroit.

"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", Franklin's family said in a statement.

"Hillary and I mourn the loss of our friend Aretha Franklin, one of America's greatest national treasures", President Bill Clinton said in a statement obtained by Variety.

In recent days, the ailing star had been visited by Stevie Wonder, the Rev Jesse Jackson and her ex-husband, actor Glynn Turman. She helped us feel more connected to each other, more hopeful, more human.

In 2010, she suffered serious health problems, but continued to perform until late a year ago, singing last in November 2017 for the Elton John AIDS Foundation in NY. Her uniquely emotional and powerful voice would put her at the forefront of 1960s soul music along with Otis Redding, Sam Cooke and Wilson Pickett.

In a career spanning more than half a century, she had dozens of hit singles, including "Respect" and "I Say a Little Prayer".

"She performed for 60 years". She had her second child two years later at 14 while she was on a gospel music tour with her father. In her key scene, Franklin (as Mrs. Murphy) sings iconic soul classic "Think" to her husband Matt "Guitar' Murphy in the middle of their restaurant when Jake and Elwood try and recruit him to their band". Some of the industry's biggest names worked on the album with Franklin, namely Clive Davis, Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, André "3000" Benjamin, Eric Kupper, Harvey Mason Jr. and Chicago DJ/producer Terry Hunter, all co-producing and doing vocal arrangements for the project.

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Franklin, who received a Kennedy Center honor in 1994, was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, in 1987.

Last year, Aretha gave her last performance at a gala in NY held in aid of the Elton John Aids Foundation.

After recording and touring as a young gospel singer, Franklin's career took a secular turn in 1961 when she signed with Columbia Records.

"She has shared her points of view from the stage for challenged people, to register to vote, to stand up for decency", he said.

When Franklin recorded "Respect" on Valentine's Day in 1967, she kept most of the original lyrics but transformed the meaning of the song with the addition of a bridge and the call-and-response of her sisters.

Fox News Channel apologized for using a photo of singer Patti LaBelle in an Aretha Franklin tribute today, saying it meant to show an image of the two singers together but Franklin was "obscured" onscreen. "For me, she was a musical lighthouse, guiding and inspiring with every note", singer and actress Bette Midler tweeted.

President George W. Bush presented Franklin the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.

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