Aretha Franklin, ‘Queen of Soul,’ dead at age 76

Sheila Mcguire
August 17, 2018

"Amazing Grace" (1972): After more than a decade in which she focused on pop material, Franklin returned with renewed intensity to the gospel music of her childhood in what has often been called the best-selling gospel album of all time.

In 2010, she suffered serious health problems, but continued to perform until late past year, singing last in November 2017 for the Elton John AIDS Foundation in NY. I was blessed to have sung with her on more than one occasion, and each time I felt that I was in the presence of musical royalty that would forever raise the bar and set the standard.

Franklin's voice has graced the lives of many eminent leaders of history, one of which was the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who was her longtime friend.

"She will be missed but the memory of her greatness as a musician and a fine human being will live with us forever", said Paul McCartney. The hugely influential singer had been suffering from pancreatic cancer, according to her publicist.

When the death of Aretha Franklin was announced on Thursday morning, one United States president paid tribute to a voice that offered "a glimpse of the divine", in which Americans could feel "our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect".

"Let's all take a moment to give thanks for the lovely life of Aretha Franklin, the Queen of our souls, who inspired us all for many many years", tweeted singer-songwriter Paul McCartney. "The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds", the family said.

Aretha Franklin: A life in pictures
Franklin passed away at 9:50 am surrounded by her family and loved ones, her family said in a statement issued by her publicist. Although meant to be a touching tribute to the late singer, many Twitter users were angered by the president's comments.

"Thank you Aretha Franklin for getting me through tough days", Twitter user, Pablo, said.

Her music quickly climbed the iTunes' charts following her death on Thursday.

People gather at a makeshift memorial at the nameplate for singer Aretha Franklin outside the Apollo Theater Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, in NY.

"It's hard to conceive of a world without her". From there, her career skyrocketed and she earned her title, "The Queen of Soul". She has reigned supreme.

"Superlatives are often used to describe astonishing artists, but in my view, even superlatives seem insufficient".

"Everybody wanted respect. Who doesn't want respect?"

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"Her voice will soar on forever..."

But he also remembered a woman of generosity, saying she had given money to "poor people, to organisations to help homeless people", adding: "She was a great person".

Asked about Nicki Minaj, she said, "I'm gonna pass on that one".

Aretha Franklin performs onstage at the Elton John AIDS Foundation Commemorates Its 25th Year And Honors Founder Sir Elton John During New York Fall Gala at Cathedral of St. John the Divine on November 7, 2017 in New York City. It was at church that Franklin began performing, recording her first album at 14 years old. Her music is legendary.

In celebration of the long life and storied career of this monumental artist we've collected some of her best hymns and gospel tunes to share.

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