This morning, Thursday, August 16th, the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, passed away at her home in Detroit, Michigan, at the age of 76-years-old. In a statement released by the family, they confirmed that Mrs. Franklin had died due to pancreatic cancer – one of the most virulent forms of cancer.
The statement read, “we have lost the matriarch and rock of our family,” in addition to saying that it was one of the saddest moments in their lives. Aretha was acknowledged by a number of influential musicians, including Carole King and Elton John.
John wrote that the entire world would miss her, but would always “rejoice in her remarkable legacy.” At the beginning of the week, members of her family told a radio station in Motor City, WDIV-TV, that she was incredibly sick.
As fans of the singer know, Franklin was born in 1942, March 25, to one of the most famous black Baptist preachers in the United States. Aretha began singing in front of her father’s congregation in Detroit as a little girl.
Her talent was widely recognized right away, and her father soon became her manager when she was just 14-years-old. In 1956, Aretha released her very first record, Songs Of Faith.
In the following years, Franklin worked hard at her craft, securing a number of different Top 10 hits on the charts, but finally earned her number one song in 1967 with, “I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You).”
The very same year, in April, Aretha released what went on to be one of the greatest songs of all time, “Respect,” a cover of the Otis Redding song. The chorus, which spells out the word by each letter, became a staple in popular culture.
Rolling Stone magazine ranked it as the fifth-greatest song of all time. Due to the song’s feminist orientation, it became a civil rights and female-empowerment anthem. Reportedly, nobody was more shocked by its success than Franklin herself.