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.
The choir of angels now have the greatest voice of all time to lead, praise and join in to sing before Jesus. I wanted to share this photo because it shows just how soulful Aretha was without uttering a word. To say I was humbled to be in her presence would be an understatement. pic.twitter.com/R2lxjXwDO8— Faith Hill (@FaithHill) August 16, 2018
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.
Queen of soul, one of the few remaining legends, a talent unparalleled. Such a sad day for the whole music industry pic.twitter.com/NlvBqlHanm— Luke Dyer (@LukeDyer1997) August 16, 2018
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.
RIP Aretha Franklin. I will always know and be in awe of the power and beauty of your voice.— roxane gay (@rgay) August 16, 2018
Franklin had four shows scheduled between March and June, including one at the historic New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, but all were cancelled.
Aretha Franklin was not just once-in-a-generation. That says too little. She was of every generation. She was not just an American icon; she was loved around the world. What a life. Rest in power, Queen of Soul.— Charlotte Clymer🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) August 16, 2018
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.
“Looking out on the morning rain— Ava DuVernay (@ava) August 16, 2018
I used to feel so uninspired
And when I knew
I had to face another day
Lord, it made me feel so tired
Before the day I met you
Life was so unkind
But you’re the key to
My peace of mind.”
Her voice/swagger was peerless.
Thank you, #ArethaFranklin pic.twitter.com/5gp0OP10Jf
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."
Thank you for sharing your soul and for your life long commitment to fighting injustice with your God given gifts. You will be sorely missed. Rest In Power Queen. pic.twitter.com/jvkFsK4aMk— Sho'Nuff Skywalker (@BreakandEnterTV) August 16, 2018
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.
Today, honor a voice that was literally declared a precious natural resource in this country. We’ve lost a queen. Pay homage. pic.twitter.com/CYiNd5eTYk— Alex Bedder (@itgetsbedder) August 16, 2018
"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."
Photo credit: David Redfern/Redferns/Getty Images