After years of battling cancer, Aretha Franklin — the Queen of Soul — died on Thursday at the age of 76. Friends and family members surrounded Franklin in her Detroit home during her final moments, and after fighting the good fight, “she went home in peace.” However, just hours after her passing, reports started to surface that Franklin’s partner of thirty years and her sons are already at war over her $80 million fortune.
According to Radar Online, the music legend’s family confirmed the cause of death as pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, and because she was a strong woman of faith with strong beliefs, they know that “she transitioned to the next life.”
Aretha Franklin and Elvis Presley Die on Same Day 41 Years Apart https://t.co/qIQSJ7favd
— TMZ (@TMZ) August 17, 2018
“To us, we did not know Aretha as the Queen of Soul. To us, she was our aunt. She was a loving aunt, a caring aunt, and a friend. Right now, I’m trying to wrap my head around this whole thing. She’ll be sorely missed by the family,” said Tim Franklin, the singer’s nephew.
Franklin lived with local firefighter Willie Wilkerson for thirty years before she died, but when they got engaged in 2012, a tabloid report claimed that her sons were worried that he would steal their inheritance. She later called off the wedding, but the two continued their relationship.
Sources said that Franklin had “finally listened to her boys.” She was the mother to sons Clarence, 63, Edward, 61, Ted White Jr., 54, and Kecalf Cunningham, 48. They have all been involved in her career, and an insider says that they will fight to keep their mom’s money in the family.
However, an insider close to Wilkerson says that he thinks it is only fair that he gets a portion of Franklin’s estate.
"Aretha Franklin had it in her contract that she wouldn't perform for segregated audiences," Trevor Noah said. https://t.co/DD8L3SJZqJ
— HuffPost (@HuffPost) August 17, 2018
Franklin’s family said in a statement that this is one of the darkest moments of their lives, and they aren’t able to find the words to express the pain they have in their heart. They said that they had lost the matriarch and rock of their family, and the love she had for them knew no bounds. Franklin’s family also thanked fans for their outpouring of love and support, and it brings them comfort to know that the singer’s legacy will live on.
Franklin was a self-taught piano prodigy, songwriter, and vocalist who started conquering the charts in the 1960s with songs like Natural Woman, Respect, Think, and Chain of Fools.
But her career didn’t stop there. She continued to release hit after hit during the 70s and 80s. Aretha Franklin recorded albums until 2017 when she released her 42nd and final studio album A Brand New Me.