Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, dies at 76
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Aretha Franklin, who defined music with her iconic voice and talent, died after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

She was 76.

Franklin died Thursday, her publicist announced. The Queen of Soul was surrounded by friends and family in her Detroit home and was in hospice.

Photo: Facebook

She is survived by four sons in Ted White Jr.Kecalf CunninghamClarence Franklin, and Edward Franklin. 

“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,” Franklin’s family members said in a release.

Known for many hits, including “Respect” and “You Make Me Feel (Like a Natural Woman),” Franklin began her career in 1954 after singing in her father’s Detroit church as a teenager. The powerhouse gospel singer landed a Columbia record deal in the 60s. She began topping the charts by 1967 following a powerful reign of that decade.

Franklin went on to inspire an impressive line of other black women singers, such as Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle, Whitney Houston and Beyonce. Franklin became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

She won 18 Grammys and the Recording Academy’s lifetime achievement and legends award. Franklin sang at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral and the presidential inaugurations of Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. In 2005, she was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Her final performance was in November.

Among her honors included the NAACP Vanguard Award for her influence during the civil rights movement, when used her music to inspire the message.

Many notable figures having joined the world in mourning the loss of the Queen: