Aretha Franklin has passed away at 76 years old, the singer’s publicist confirmed to the Associated Press on Thursday (August 16).
Read the full statement from her publicist below:
News of the singer’s ailing health broke on Monday, August 13, when WDIV morning anchor Evrod Cassimy, a close friend to Franklin, reported she was “gravely ill.” “BREAKING NEWS: I am so saddened to report that the Queen of Soul and my good friend Aretha Franklin is gravely ill,” he tweeted early Monday. “I spoke with her family members this morning. She is asking for your prayers at this time. I’ll have more details as I’m allowed to release.”
In a separate on-air report, Cassimy expanded: “Right now Aretha’s asking people here in the city of Detroit, where she calls home, to pray for her. As for her condition her—her illness—right now, we’re asked not to release that information.”
Franklin was born on March 25, 1942, in Memphis. Her father, C. L. Franklin, was a very famous pastor and civil rights activist who moved the family to Detroit when she was young. In 1956 Franklin released her first album, Songs of Faith, kicking off a six-decade reign of soul music. By the end of the 1960s, Franklin was known as the Queen of Soul: a title that’s stayed with her throughout her illustrious career.
Franklin has 18 Grammy awards and 44 nominations. She’s been a staple on the charts, too, with two number-one hits on Billboard‘s Hot 100 (including “Respect”) and 17 top-10 hits.
In February 2017 Franklin announced she was retiring after over 60 years in the music business. “I am retiring this year,” she told WDIV Local 4 in Detroit at the time. “I will be recording, but this will be my last year in concert. This is it.” Her last performance was in November 2017 for the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
Several musicians took to Twitter shortly after Cassimy reported on Franklin’s health to express their love.
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