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Aretha Franklin, the "Queen of Soul," Dies at 76

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer collected 18 Grammy Awards throughout her legendary career.

Aretha Franklin has died at the age of 76.
(© Tristan Fuge)

The Associated Press has reported that the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, died Thursday morning at her home in Detroit following a battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 76.

Franklin's publicist Gwendolyn Quinn offered the following family statement: "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 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."

From her beginnings as a gospel singer in Detroit's New Bethel Baptist Church, where her father was a minister, Franklin embarked on a secular singing career at age 18, recording with Columbia Records, with only modest success.

Only after she signed with Atlantic Records in 1967 did she achieve commercial acclaim with songs like "Respect" and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman." She would go on to become the most charted female artist in Billboard's history, and she won 18 Grammy Awards.

Franklin was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, becoming the first female performer to be inducted.

Her song "Spirit in the Dark" was featured in the jukebox musical A Night With Janis Joplin, which opened on Broadway in 2013.

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