Renowned American singer and pianist, Aretha Franklin, passed away at her home in Detroit at 9:50 am (local time) yesterday. The 76 year old star performer, popularly known as ‘Queen of Soul’, was suffering from pancreatic cancer since 2010.
Her family issued a statement saying: “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.”
In a music career spanning seven decades, Franklin won 17 Grammy awards. She also delivered 17 Top Ten US chart hits. She had garnered critical acclaim for chartbusters such as Respect and Think. Her final performance was in November, 2017 at a charity gala in New York, organized by the Elton John Aids Foundation. After the show, she announced her retirement from music.
As news of her death broke, celebrities and fans immediately flooded social media with tributes for Aretha Franklin:
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
The loss of Aretha Franklin is a blow for everybody who loves real music: Music from the heart, the soul and the Church. Her voice was unique, her piano playing underrated – she was one of my favourite pianists. I was fortunate enough to spend time with her and witness her last performance – a benefit for the Elton John AIDS Foundation at St John The Divine Cathedral. She was obviously unwell, and I wasn’t sure she could perform. But Aretha did and she raised the roof. She sang and played magnificently, and we all wept. We were witnessing the greatest soul artist of all time. I adored her and worshipped her talent. God bless her. My condolences to all her family and friends. We shared the same birthday – and that meant so much to me. The whole world will miss her but will always rejoice in her remarkable legacy. The Queen is dead. Long live the Queen. @arethasings #RIP #ArethaFranklin #QueenOfSoul @ejaf
Former American President, Barrack Obama also took to Twitter an emotional statement for Franklin.
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
Franklin’s fans went to her Hollywood Walk of Fame star with flowers and a crown, to pay tribute to their favourtite singer.
Franklin’s death comes just three days after a source close to her informed press that the singer was in hospice care.