Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, Mourned on Social Media

Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, died Thursday at the age of 76. Her death sent shockwaves through social media, with fans and celebrities alike mourning her death.

Late Sunday, ShowBoz411 reported that Franklin was "gravely ill" and surrounded by her friends and family in Detroit. Family later confirmed she was close to death to the Associated Press and ClickOnDetroit.

According to TMZ's sources, her family and friends were told two weeks ago that Franklin could "go any time." Another source said she was down to just 86 pounds.

Franklin's death followed years of health problems, but it was only last year that she stopped performing. Her last performance was at Elton John's AIDS benefit in New York on Nov. 2, 2017. Her final public performance was in August 2017 at the Mann Center in Philadelphia.

Franklin had four shows scheduled between March and June, including one at the historic New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, but all were cancelled.

Franklin's music career began in 1956 when she was only 18 years old, after singing in church. "Today I Sing The Blues," her first single with a major record label, was released in 1960.

She found her greatest success with Atlantic Records, starting in 1967 with her iconic recording of Otis Redding's "Respect." Her streak of hit singles in the late 1960s and 1970s included "(You Make Me Feel) Like a Natural Woman," "Baby I Love You," "Chain of Fools," "Ain't No Way," "I Say A Little Prayer," "Spanish Harlem" and "Until You Came Back to Me."

The singer continued performing on stage and in the studio, releasing her last full-length studio album in 2014 with Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics. Her last hit single was a cover of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep," which debuted at No. 47 on Billbaord's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.

In her later years, Franklin took center stage during President Barack Obama's administration. She sang "My Country 'Tis of Thee" at Obama's first inauguration. In 2015, her performance of "Like a Natural Woman" brought Obama to tears.

"It's important for people," Franklin said in a recent Vogue interview about "Respect." "Not just me or the Civil Rights movement or women — it's important to people. And I was asked what recording of mine I'd put in a time capsule, and it was 'Respect.' Because people want respect — even small children, even babies. As people, we deserve respect from one another."


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