Aretha Franklin Dies; Legendary Singer was 76

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Aretha Franklin, one of the most successful and influential solo artists in music history, died on Thursday morning after a lengthy battle with cancer.

She was 76 years old.

Aretha Franklin Picture

A number of reporters and outlets had warned the public ahead of time that Franklin's time was sadly near, as multiple sources confirmed over the weekend that the legendary artist was gravely ill.

She ended up passing away while under hospice care in her Detroit home.

She was surrounded by friends and family members at the time.

In an unusual move, a tribute concert produced by Live Nation and spearheaded by Sony Music Chief Creative Officer Clive Davis, who signed Franklin to Arista Records in 1980, was actually announced prior to her passing.

The event will likely be titled “Clive Davis Presents: A Tribute to Aretha Franklin" and is scheduled to be at Madison Square Garden in New York City on November 14.

The legendary singer had not performed for an audience since November of 2017.

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"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. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family," Franklin's family said on Thursday.

Sources had said that Franklin's weight plummeted down to 85 pounds by the time she passed away.

Ahead of scheduled concerts in March and April of this year, the singer was forced to cancel the performances under doctor’s orders.

Dubbed The Queen of Soul decades ago, Franklin has been cited by contemporary superstars such as Beyonce and Mariah Carey as being a major influence and role model.

(UPDATE: The singer's publicist confirmed this news to the Associated Press and said Franklin died of advanced pancreatic cancer.)

Her rundown of achievements is almost too long to list in one place.

Aretha

But we'll give it a shot...

- Franklin was nominated for 44 Grammy Wwards.

- She won 18 Grammy Awards over the course of her career.

- This figure represents the third-most Grammys ever won by an individual.

- From 1968 through 1975, she won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance every single year.

- Along with her most well-known song, “Respect,” the singer shot to fame with hits including “Natural Woman,” “I Say A Little Prayer” and “Chain of Fools," many of which remain relevant today.

- Franklin was the first woman to be inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

- She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush in 2005.

- In 2010, she was named in the greatest singer of all time by Rolling Stone. 

Yes, of ALL TIME. Says it all, doesn't it?

Aretha Franklin Pic

Before Franklin even passed away, as soon as news broke that she was seriously ill, tributes and notes of sorrow started pouring forward on social media.

Missy Elliott summed it up well on Twitter when she wrote the following on Monday morning:

My prayers are with Aretha Franklin & her family during this difficult time. We MUST CELEBRATE the Living Legends while they are here to see it.

So many have given us decades of Timeless music.

In 2017, after 56 years as a singer and songwriter, Franklin said she was retiring, saying at the time:

"I feel very, very enriched and satisfied with respect to where my career came from, and where it is now.

"I'll be pretty much satisfied, but I'm not going to go anywhere and just sit down and do nothing. That wouldn't be good either."

Expect the messages of sorrow and sympathy to continue for many hours, days and weeks.

What a career and what a woman.

May Aretha Franklin rest in peace.

UPDATE: Here is the full Franklin family statement...

It is with deep and profound sadness that we announce the passing of Aretha Louise Franklin, the Queen of Soul. Franklin, 76 years old, passed away on Thursday morning, August 16 at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit, MI, surrounded by family and loved ones.

Franklin’s official cause of death was due to advance pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, which was confirmed by Franklin’s Oncologist, Dr. Philip Phillips of Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, MI.

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. 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.

We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and fans all around the world.

Thank you for your compassion and prayers.

We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.

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