Aretha Franklin "The Queen Of Soul" Has Passed Away At 76

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She performed in November at the Elton John AIDS Foundation Gala in NY to a private audience. We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.

In 1979, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and had her voice declared a MI "natural resource" in 1985.

Franklin was born in the U.S. city of Memphis, Tennessee, to gospel singer parents Clarence and Barbara on March 25, 1942.

She continued to adapt, endured and came back strong with a slightly different sound in the 1980s, starting with the Grammy-nominated and critically acclaimed album "Jump to It".

Franklin died on Thursday in Detroit where familiy and friends had gathered during her final days, her publicist told United States media.

Franklin's brother Cecil, who became her manager after White, died of cancer in 1989, as did her sister Carolyn in 1988 - one of two sisters who regularly featured on her records.

On Wednesday, CNN reported Franklin was admitted into hospice care at her Detroit home. She blessed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s memorial service in 1968 with her sweet, soulful voice and almost two decades later became the first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

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She recorded "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)", an album that included "Respect", an enduring song people immediately think of when they think of Franklin. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by then president George W. Bush in 2005. "Everything she's thinking or dealing with is all in the music, from "Chain of Fools" to "Respect" to her live performances".

With Obama, in particular, Franklin shared a special bond.

In 2017, Franklin announced she would retire from public performances in 2018.

Perhaps she didn't need to be - it was all in her voice. "The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds". Twenty years ago she stepped into the Grammy ceremony spotlight at the very last minute, subbing for an ailing Luciano Pavarotti and bringing the house down on Puccinis hard aria Nessun dorma. She signed with Columbia and released "Today I Sing The Blues", her first pop single, in 1960. Franklins update pleaded for respect not just from her man, but from the world — it was she who worked in the unforgettable "R-E-S-P-E-C-T" breakdown and "sock it to me" refrain. She reminded me she had sung for several presidents, the pope and every other "big shot" out there.

On occasions, she would resemble something akin to a force of nature to those who found themselves on the wrong side of musical royalty.

On Monday, August 13, reports surfaced that Franklin was "gravely ill" and her family was asking for prayers. In 1994, at age 52, she became the youngest at that time to receive a Kennedy Center Honor.

One of the most prolific and successful female hitmakers of all time, Franklin emerged from a background in gospel singing to pop prominence in the 1960s. Her final performance was in November 2017 at the Elton Johns AIDS Foundation 25th anniversary gala.

She faced a lot of heartache in her personal life. She was married and divorced twice but said little publicly about either relationship.

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