Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, Dies at 76

The music industry has lost a long-reigning queen and legendary icon. Aretha Franklin, hailed as the Queen of Soul for more than half a century, has died, CBS News reports. She was 76 years old.

Franklin's representative, Gwendolyn Quinn, said that the singer passed away on Thursday, the Associated Press reports. Her cause of death was advanced pancreatic cancer.

The news comes after a report surfaced Sunday night that Franklin was "gravely ill" and surrounded by her family in Detroit. Franklin was first diagnosed with cancer in 2011. She made her final performance during an Elton John AIDS Foundation benefit in New York in November 2017, and also performed in August 2017 at the Mann Center in Philadelphia.

The 18-time Grammy winner was scheduled to make two more performances earlier this year, but they were both canceled due to health concerns. One show in Newark, New Jersey was scheduled for her birthday in March. The other was a performance at the legendary New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in April. She also had concerts in Boston and Toronto planned for June.

"Aretha Franklin has been ordered by her doctor to stay off the road and rest completely for at least the next two months," her management said in a statement to Entertainment Weekly in March. "She is extremely disappointed she cannot perform at this year’s New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival as she had expected and hoped to."

The music icon told ClickOnDetroit in February 2017 that she planned on retiring from performing, aside from major events. She also revealed that she wanted to record one more album. Her most recent album came in 2016 with A Brand New Me, a collection of vocal recordings with new arrangements from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. In all, she released 42 studio albums.

Beginning in 1956, Franklin's legendary music career reached unprecedented heights in the late 1960s and 1970s thanks to hit singles like "Respect," "(You Make Me Feel) Like a Natural Woman", "Think" and "Spanish Harlem." She has won 18 Grammy awards and is a member of both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame. She was married and divorced twice and has four children.

Other hit recordings of Franklin's include "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man," "Chain of Fools," "The Thrill Is Gone," "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," "See Saw," "Son of a Preacher Man" and "Rock Steady." She found success in 2014 with a cover of Adele's "Rolling In The Deep."

Born in Memphis, Tennessee on March 25, 1942, Franklin moved to Detroit, Michigan at age 4. She remained loyal to the region and lived there for decades.

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“My roots are there. The church is there. My family is there,” she told the Detroit Free Press in 2011. “I like the camaraderie in Detroit, how we’ll rally behind something that’s really worthy and come to each other’s assistance.”

Photo credit: Express Newspapers / Stringer / Getty Images