Aretha Franklin has passed away at the age of 76. The singer and musician has been a staple in the music industry since the 1960s. Growing up in Detroit and teaching herself to play the piano, Franklin went on to become a respected name in music beginning with her iconic 1967 debut, an in-your-face rendition of Otis Redding's "Respect" that is forever linked to the Queen of Soul.
Franklin's royalty status was hard-earned. The soul singer boasted 18 Grammys during the course of her long career. She made her way onto the Hot 100 charts on multiple occasions, with 77 total songs making it on the list. She boasted over 100 Billboard hits, 21 reaching the top of the R&B charts and 17 placing in the Top 10. These accomplishments, along with her undeniable influence and inspiration on the artists who came after her, helped her to become the first woman to ever be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. Franklin retired from performing live concerts last year.
People reports the sad passing of Franklin, who succumbed to advanced pancreatic cancer this morning. Franklin was in her home in Detroit at the time of her passing. The singer's illness began to take a turn two days ago and she was put on hospice care in her home. Family and friends gathered around to lend support at that time. Franklin had reportedly been in failing health for years but refrained from speaking publicly about the state of her illness. A family friend told People that Franklin had not wanted anyone to know how bad her cancer had gotten.
The news of Franklin's waning health was first broken by Showbiz 411 reporter, Roger Friedman. But a close friend of Franklin's, Local 4 Detroit News anchor Evrod Cassimy, confirmed the reports on Sunday via Twitter. Cassimy said that Franklin was requesting prayers. The music industry did, indeed, offer that support. Beyonce recently performed a concert in Detroit and dedicated the show to the influential singer. Mariah Carey tweeted her prayers to Franklin, as did Patti LaBelle. High profile names outside the music industry expressed their well-wishes for Franklin, as well, including Bill and Hillary Clinton and Reverand Al Sharpton.
Franklin's family expressed their sorrow over losing the "matriarch and rock" of the family. Despite the pain, they are currently feeling, her family has also shown gratitude for the outpouring of love and support shown by fans and colleagues of the prolific singer. The family has requested privacy during this difficult time.
Rest In Peace Aretha Franklin: March 25, 1942 - August 16, 2018