Aretha Franklin, undeniably the “Queen of Soul” whose recordings of such classics as “Respect” and “Chain of Fools” earned her way to be the first ever female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, died Thursday of advanced pancreatic cancer at the age of 76.
Franklin passed away at her Detroit home at 9:50 a.m.
“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 said in a statement to 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.”
From Fox News:
Franklin had dealt with undisclosed health issues that had kept her off stage in recent months. In March of 2018, she canceled a pair of scheduled concerts in due to what her management described as doctor’s orders. In subsequent months, she canceled scheduled performances in Boston and Toronto with management again saying that her doctors had told her to “stay off the road and rest completely.”
At one of her last public performances, in June 2017, she closed out a free concert in her hometown of Detroit with the message: “God bless you, God keep you, keep me in your prayers.”
Born in Memphis but raised in Detroit, Franklin began singing in church as a youngster – her father was a Baptist minister – and during her lifetime crossed multiple music lines. Known for her soul recordings, she also shone at R&B, jazz, blues and gospel music and was a songwriter and pianist as well as a singer.
This lady received multiple honors over her long career, including The National Medal of Arts and The Presidential Medal of Freedom.
In 2009, she sang “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” at the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Her over-sized gray bow hat, a much talked about item, even made it into the Smithsonian Museum.
Overall, she won 18 Grammy awards, beginning with Best Rhythm and Blues Recording for “Respect” in 1968 and ending with Best Gospel-Soul Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group for “Never Gonna Break My Faith” with Mary J. Blige in 2008.
Her passing marks the end of an era, and she will be sadly missed. There was barely a day as a young kid growing up in my parent’s house when her music wasn’t played on the record player as my father was a lover of music, especially Soul, Motown and Sinatra.
At one of her last public performances, in June 2017, Franklin closed out a free concert in her hometown of Detroit with the message: “God bless you, God keep you, keep me in your prayers.”
Back at you, Queen of Soul.
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