Aretha Franklin Has Died At The Age Of 76

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Legendary singer Aretha Franklin has sadly passed away at the age of 76.

Known for her iconic hits such as Respect, (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman and Spanish Harlem, Franklin’s passing has been confirmed.

TMZ report she was surrounded by friends and family when she died.

Prior to her death, she was reported to be gravely ill in hospital on August 13, where she was surrounded by friends and family in Detroit. At the time they asked for prayers and privacy.

The iconic soul-singer, who became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, had turned 76 last March. In 2010 she was diagnosed with cancer and had been battling the illness off-and-on ever since.

Before her passing, Harry Hairston, a multi-Emmy award-winning anchor and investigative reporter for NBC Philadelphia, posted a Tweet which stated:

Spoke with close friend of Aretha Franklin and family. Iconic singer not doing well.

Her last live appearance was last year in November for an Elton John AIDS Foundation benefit in New York, according to Showbiz 411. Her last public performance was in August 2017 in Philadelphia.

In early 2017, she confirmed it would be her last time doing any live performances, in an interview for a Detroit radio station she stated:

I will be recording, but this will be my last year in concert. This is it.

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Already an icon in music, Aretha solidified her legacy when she made a cameo in the 1980’s classic musical comedy The Blues Brothers, which starred Dan Aykroyd and the late-great John Belushi.

As well as battling cancer the singer also struggled with weight complications and an alcohol addiction throughout her life. While she continued to do live performances well into her seventies, the Respect singer was known for abruptly cancelling shows due to undisclosed medical reasons.

Tragically, cancer was an illness which ran in her family. All three of her siblings died from cancer, her brother Cecil, who managed her career, died in 1989. Her sister, Carolyn, died in 1988, while her eldest sister Erma lost her battle to cancer in 2002.

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Further to being the first ever woman inducted into the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Ms Franklin has picked up 20 Grammy awards and three American Music Awards throughout her career. She was also hailed by Rolling Stone as the greatest singer of all time.

In 1963, her father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin, organised what was at the time the largest march for racial equality in Detroit, where Martin Luther King first gave his iconic ‘I Have A Dream’ speech. Two months later he would deliver it again, in Washington, to the nation.

Aretha sang at Martin Luther King’s funeral in 1968.

Aretha Franklin gravely illWikipedia

The singer had a total of 20 number one R&B singles, and recorded around 130 singles and 42 studio albums in all, becoming the most charted female artist in Billboard‘s history.

In 1979 Aretha received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and her voice was declared a Michigan ‘natural resource’ in 1985. She was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award in 1994 and was bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.

After her performance of ‘A Natural Woman’ at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors, former President Barack Obama Obama said:

Nobody embodies more fully the connection between the African-American spiritual, the blues, R&B, rock and roll – the way that hardship and sorrow were transformed into something full of beauty and vitality and hope.

Our thoughts and condolences are with the friends and family of Aretha Franklin at this difficult time.

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