Aretha Franklin, the “Queen of Soul” whose recordings of such classics as “Respect” and “Chain of Fools” made her the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, died Thursday of advanced pancreatic cancer. She was 76.
Franklin died at her Detroit home at at 9:50 a.m.
“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,” the singer’s family said in a statement to the Associated Press. “We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds.”
The family added: “We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and fans all around the world. Thank you for your compassion and prayers. We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.”
Franklin had dealt with undisclosed health issues that had kept her offstage in recent months. In March of 2018, she canceled a pair of scheduled concerts due to what her management described as doctor’s orders. In subsequent months, she canceled scheduled performances in Boston and Toronto, with management again saying that her doctors had told her to “stay off the road and rest completely.”
Over the course of her career, Franklin received multiple honors, including The National Medal of Arts and The Presidential Medal of Freedom.