After a fight with pancreatic cancer today at 9:40 am Aretha Franklin died today in her home in Detroit at 76 years old. In music, she reached a pinnacle that very few people will ever reach, which was iconic. She had several visitors in the last weeks of her life including good friend Stevie Wonder. Jesse Jackson was also at her bedside as well as her former husband Glynn Turman. Beyonnce and JayZ also paid tribute to her at their concert last evening, but it is not known if they visited.
Aretha Franklin won 18 grammy awards, had 20 #1 singles (the most by any woman), was the first woman inducted into the hall of fame, first African American woman on the cover of Time magazine, a huge part of the civil rights movement with MLKjr. She was awarded both the National Medal of the Arts and Presidential medal of Freedom.
In addition she had 12 honorary doctorates from Harvard, Princeton, Yale and University of Michigan among others.
She performed at 3 Presidential inaugurations; Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. She sang at the Martin Luther king memorial service and many other monumental events in U.S. history over her career.
She had performed since the time she was 10 at her father’s church, a notable Baptist minister, Clarence LaVaughn Franklin. She released her first gospel album in 1956. In 1967, she has her first big hit with RESPECT using the Muscle Shoals rhythm section, “the swampers” along with “I Never Loved A Man” at the famed studio, at the request of her new label, Atlantic Records. They wanted to open up her soul.
After a very long career, including appearing in the Blues Brothers in 1980 and again in Blues Brothers 2000. She retired in 2017 from touring, saying she would still record.
She is survived by four sons, grandchildren, cousins, other family and friends. Also millions of fans.
“Being a singer is a natural gift. It means I'm using to the highest degree possible the gift that God gave me to use. I'm happy with that.”
RIP..to the Queen of Soul.