American legend, Aretha Franklin, known for having one of the greatest voices in music history, and for hit songs like ‘Respect,’ and ‘(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman’, died Thursday after a long battle with advanced pancreatic cancer.
Revered as the Queen of Soul, Aretha passed away in her Detroit home where she was under hospice care. She had been in failing health for many months and she was down to 86 pounds.
It was reported earlier this week that the singer was gravely ill.
Online celebrity tabloid, TMZ, quoted an unnamed friend of the 76-year-old as saying a week ago: “Prepare yourself, she’s dying.”
The source added that Aretha was down to 86 pounds and her health was failing, and everyone in her circle told: “She could go any time.”
Aretha was surrounded by friends and family when she passed. Her family released a statement, saying, “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.”
She had appeared incredibly frail in recent years and rarely performed live. Her most recent appearance was last November for Elton John’s AMFAR event.
Aretha’s achievements in the late ’60s were remarkable for any artist, but especially so for a black woman in the midst of the Civil Rights movement. She held the record for the most entries on the Hot 100 list of any female artist for nearly 40 years, only to be dethroned in 2017 by Nicki Minaj.
She won 18 Grammys and was the first woman ever inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.