Aretha Franklin, known as the Queen of Soul, died Thursday at the age of 76.
The music icon passed away at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit, surrounded by family and friends, according to her longtime publicist Gwendolyn Quinn. Her official cause of death was due to advance pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type.
“It is with deep and profound sadness that we announce the passing of Aretha Louise Franklin, the Queen of Soul,” Quinn said in a statement. “Franklin … passed away on Thursday morning, August 16 at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit, MI, surrounded by family and loved ones. 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.”
— AP Entertainment (@APEntertainment) August 16, 2018
Her death comes three days after sources close to Franklin revealed that she was “gravely ill.” The singer had struggled with her health for years, but kept matters private. In February 2017, she announced that she would stop touring, but continued to book concerts. Her final public performance was in November at Elton John’s annual AIDS Foundation gala in New York.
A cultural icon who broke musical, racial, and gender barriers, Franklin’s catalog of classics included “Respect,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” and “Chain of Fools.” She earned over 100 singles on the Billboard charts, including 17 Top 10 pop singles and 20 No. 1 R&B hits. She won 18 Grammy Awards, along with a lifetime achievement award in 1994. She was the first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and sang at the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968 and inauguration of Barack Obama in 2009.
Funeral arrangements will be announced in the coming days.
Franklin inspired legions of artists, many of whom paid their respects to the legendary singer on social media.
Aretha Franklin. The Queen of Soul. The Icon. The ultimate singers' singer. The greatest singer and musician of my lifetime. The power of your voice in music and in civil rights blew open the door for me and so many others. You were my inspiration, my mentor and my friend. pic.twitter.com/YDQL2zzgdM
— Mariah Carey (@MariahCarey) August 16, 2018
Rest In Peace to our Queen of Soul. Her contribution to music and to the empowerment and enrichment of our hearts, Spirits and souls is immeasurable.
Thank you Ms. Aretha Franklin for sharing your anointed gifts with us. They changed the world. We are deeply grateful!
— Ms. Lauryn Hill (@MsLaurynHill) August 16, 2018
— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) August 16, 2018
Nicki Minaj on Aretha Franklin: "She is the icon of all icons. I don't know anyone who she hasn't inspired." #QueenRadio 👑👑
— Rap-Up (@RapUp) August 16, 2018
Aretha helped define the American experience. In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade—our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect. May the Queen of Soul rest in eternal peace. pic.twitter.com/bfASqKlLc5
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 16, 2018
Salute to the Queen. The greatest vocalist I’ve ever known. 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽 #Aretha
— John Legend (@johnlegend) August 16, 2018
This is the face of a young man who couldn't believe he was actually singing with the GREATEST OF ALL TIME. Thank you, Ms. Franklin for blessing us with your incomparable gift. Honored to have shared the stage with you even for a moment. Always bowing down to you. #QueenofSoul pic.twitter.com/4bZVAWcqeS
— Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) August 16, 2018
this is truly a sad day. rest peacefully queen. icon. my sincere condolences to her family. #ArethaFranklin
— KELENDRIA ROWLAND (@KELLYROWLAND) August 16, 2018
This photo was taken in 2012 when Aretha & I performed at a tribute celebration for our friend Marvin Hamlisch. It’s difficult to conceive of a world without her. Not only was she a uniquely brilliant singer,but her commitment to civil rights made an indelible impact on the world pic.twitter.com/Px9zVB90MM
— Barbra Streisand (@BarbraStreisand) August 16, 2018
we love you Aretha!! 💙 rest in peace Queen 💙
— Chilombo (@JheneAiko) August 16, 2018
The greatest voice in American popular music has been stilled. Our beloved #ArethaFranklin has gone. For me, she was a musical lighthouse, guiding and inspiring with every note. I loved her so and love her still. Goodbye, Queen of Soul.
— Bette Midler (@BetteMidler) August 16, 2018
I’m sitting in prayer for the wonderful golden spirit Aretha Franklin.
— Ms. Ross (@DianaRoss) August 16, 2018
Let’s all take a moment to give thanks for the beautiful life of Aretha Franklin, the Queen of our souls, who inspired us all for many many years. She will be missed but the memory of her greatness as a musician and a fine human being will live with us forever. Love Paul pic.twitter.com/jW4Gpwfdts
— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) August 16, 2018
I'm saddened to learn that Aretha Franklin has passed.The most soulful and inspirational singer of our time. / Je suis attristée d'apprendre le décès d’Aretha Franklin. La chanteuse la plus inspirante de notre époque. – Céline xx…
📸 : Kevin Mazur https://t.co/3Tz7G2W205 pic.twitter.com/Q5DtmJ1IVa
— Celine Dion (@celinedion) August 16, 2018
Rest easy #ARETHAFRANKLIN I imagine u in heaven performing & still making people souls move🙌🏾 this was my aunt favorite record #RockSteady you will always be the Queen of Soul you been that before many of us were born! Thank you for giving us LEGENDARY TIMELESS music 🙏🏾❤️ pic.twitter.com/bEueBCLGJ9
— Missy Elliott (@MissyElliott) August 16, 2018