Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, Has Died at Age 76

16 August, 2018, 19:10 | Author: Rafael Roberts
  • Rev. Jesse Jackson asks for prayers for Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin, the teenage gospel singer who rose to become the Queen of Soul, selling 75 million records and inspiring generations, has died.

She died at her home in Detroit on Thursday, her publicist told AP news agency.

Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, has passed away aged 76 following a period of "gravely ill" health.

In February 2017, she said she would keep recording but retire from touring after a limited run of concerts marking a new album that year, "A Brand New Me", which featured her doing some of her biggest hits with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Her final performance was in November 2017 at the Elton Johns AIDS Foundation 25th anniversary gala. In 1987, she was the first woman to ever be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Truly, we lost a legend.

Throughout her later career, Franklin suffered accusations she was a diva to deal with.

President George W. Bush presented Franklin the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.

A Civil Rights icon in her own way — she sang at the memorial service for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and would later do so for Rosa Parks — Franklin proudly transcended racial and cultural barriers in her music.

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Franklin canceled planned concerts earlier this year after she was ordered by her doctor to stay off the road and rest up.

Franklin cut some of her greatest records at Atlantic-she recorded so many great songs, that it's impossible to choose just one to serve as a signature. She had suffered from advanced pancreatic cancer.

"When I heard (she lip-synced) I just really cracked up", she said.

Memphis-born and Detroit-raised, Franklin grew up belting gospel in church, where her father was a renowned Baptist minister and her mentor was Mahalia Jackson.

She performed at the inaugurations of two United States presidents, delivering a stirring rendition of "My Country 'Tis of Thee" at the January 2009 ceremony for Barack Obama, the first African-American president, while wearing a widely remarked grey hat with a big bow. "She is the reason why women want to sing". She was married and divorced twice but said little publicly about either relationship.

She would also sing the anthem before Game 3 of the 2011 American League Championship Series, which was between the Texas Rangers and the Detroit Tigers. The string of songs that spring to mind at the mere mention of Aretha's name seems endless: "Chain of Fools", "Son of a Preacher Man", "Think", "Daydreaming". We shared the same birthday - and that meant so much to me.

In January, Deadline reported that Franklin personally chose Hudson to play her in the MGM-produced bio-pic, with the working title Queen of Soul. In the studio, Wexler wrote, "she never hit a wrong note, never showed a second of self-doubt".

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