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Aretha Franklin dies at 76

The "Queen of Soul," legendary singer and songwriter Aretha Franklin, died Thursday from advanced pancreatic cancer, her publicist said in a statement. She was 76.

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Franklin died at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit from “advanced pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type,” publicist Gwendolyn Quinn said in a statement.

“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,” Franklin’s family said in a statement released by Quinn. “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.”

>> ‘Thank you, Aretha’: Fans, friends remember the ‘Queen of Soul’

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Family members thanked Franklin’s fans and friends for their support.

“Thank you for your compassion and prayers,” the statement said. “We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on.”

Funeral arrangements are expected to be announced in the coming days.

President Donald Trump mourned Franklin on Thursday, writing in a tweet that, “She was a great woman, with a wonderful gift from God, her voice.”

“She will be missed!” he wrote.

Franklin performed at former President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009. Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama, shared sympathies for Franklin’s family and fans in a statement.

“Through her compositions and unmatched musicianship, Aretha helped define the American experience. In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade—our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect,” the former president wrote. “She helped us feel more connected to each other, more hopeful, more human. And sometimes she helped us just forget about everything else and dance.”

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan called Franklin “a performer without peers” in a statement released after her passing.

>> Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin dies: A look back at her legacy 

“Throughout her extraordinary life and career, she earned the love -- and yes, the respect -- of millions of people, not just for herself and for women everywhere, but for the city she loved so dearly and called home,” Duggan said. “I was honored to present Aretha with the key to our city last year and her last concert in Detroit. While she may have passed, Aretha Franklin will always have the key to our hearts.

Friends, fans and celebrities took to social media to mourn Franklin:

 
  
 
 

Family members confirmed Monday to WDIV-TV that Franklin, 76, was gravely ill after a report from entertainment site Showbiz411 claimed she was being surrounded by friends and family in Detroit.

 

Tom Joyner, a nationally syndicated radio host and friend of Franklin’s, said Monday that Franklin has been in hospice care for a week, according to The Detroit News.

Franklin had announced plans to retire from touring in February 2017 to focus on her family and a few select projects, the News reported.

>> Beyonce dedicates Detroit OTR II show to Aretha Franklin

"I feel very, very enriched and satisfied with respect to where my career came from, and where it is now,” Franklin told WDIV in 2017. “I'll be pretty much satisfied, but I'm not going to go anywhere and just sit down and do nothing. That wouldn't be good either.”

Franklin canceled several concerts this year due to health issues, Fox13Memphis reported. According to The Associated Press, “she was ordered by her doctor to stay off the road and rest up.”

She performed  in her hometown of Detroit in June 2017, the Detroit Free Press reported. She ended the concert with an appeal for those in the crown to, “Please keep me in your prayers,” according to the newspaper.

>> Photos: Aretha Franklin through the years

She last performed in November at Elton John’s AIDS Foundation gala in New York City, the News reported.

Franklin was born March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tennessee. Her family moved to Detroit when she was young, according to Fox13Memphis.

Franklin started singing when she was young, with encouragement from her mother, Barbara, and her father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin. She started out singing gospel but launched a career in secular music after she turned 18. She rose to fame after signing in 1967 with Atlantic Records.

>> The best Aretha Franklin songs: A timeline

Franklin’s career, spanning six decades, spawned hits including “Respect,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and “Chain of Fools.” She’s considered one of the best-selling artists of all time, selling more than 75 million albums worldwide.

Franklin was inducted in 1987 to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. She earned 18 Grammy Awards and a Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work. In 2005, then-President George W. Bush described Franklin as “a woman of achievement, deep character and a loving heart.”

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