Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul, dies age 76

She passed away in her home in Detroit this morning due to pancreatic cancer

Aretha Franklin, the legendary soul singer whose career spanned seven decades, has died. She was 76. Publicist Gwendolyn Quinn told Associated Press via a family statement the singer died in her home at 9.50am. The statement reads: “Franklin’s official cause of death was due to advance pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, which was confirmed by Franklin’s oncologist, Dr. Philip Phillips of Karmanos Cancer Institute”.

“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. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds.”

“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.”

Last night, sources close to the singer confirmed that Franklin was “gravely ill” and was admitted to a hospice in Detroit. Earlier this year, the singer had cancelled a run of concerts due to health concerns. Reports of Franklin’s failing health have circulated for years, but were never confirmed by the singer.

Franklin began her singing career as a child, singing gospel in the Detroit baptist church where her father was minister. In 1960, she signed to her first major record label and went on record over 100 singles including Respect, (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, Spanish Harlem and Think and a string of acclaimed albums, including Lady Soul, Young, Gifted and Black and Amazing Grace.

Aretha Franklin is one of the best-selling artists of all time, with over 75 million records sold worldwide. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987– the first woman to receive the honour.