Aretha Franklin, Dead at 76, Recorded in Miami

Aretha Franklin news ‘Gravely ill’ singer is'at peace with her journey

She died at her home in Detroit on Thursday, her publicist told AP news agency. "We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family", he said.

"Initially you're saddened, but then when you think about her being a child of God, you know it's about eternal life not just life", said Smith. "In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every share - our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect". "As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this hard time", the statement concluded.

Her last public performance was at Elton John's AIDS Foundation gala in NY last November.

The legendary singer was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She went on to win 18 Grammy Awards, sell more than 75 million records in her life, and become one of the best-selling selling artists of all time.

Unfortunately, the world got some sad news this week when it learned that Franklin died at the age of 76 after suffering from an undisclosed illness.

"America has no royalty", former president and first lady Barack and Michelle Obama said in a statement shortly after the sad news broke.

She began her career as a teen gospel singer.

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By the end of the 1960s she had gained the title "Queen of Soul".

Elton John took to Instagram to say: "Her voice was unique, her piano playing underrated, she was one of my favourite pianists".

Franklin announced her partial retirement a year ago, most recently performing in November at Sir Elton John's Aids Foundation's 25th anniversary gala in NY.

Her youngest son, Kecalf Cunningham, was born in 1970 after she had a relationship with road manager Ken Cunningham. People loved Aretha. She was a special woman.

"Her music was deepened by her connection to the struggles and the triumphs of the African American experience", he said in a statement.

Annie Lennox added: "As the One and Only "Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin was simply peerless". The queen of soul used her voice not only to sooth hearts worldwide but as a catalyst for the civil rights movement. President George W. Bush awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, in 2005. A cameo in the 1980 Blues Brothers movie introduced her to a new generation of fans and she again became pop music gold, producing hits like "Freeway of Love".

Other stars, including Elton John, John Legend, and Bette Midler also took to Twitter to remember the Queen of Soul. "He said if that's what I wanted to do, he thought it would be OK, so I went out for a number of dates with Dr. King". We shared the same birthday - and that meant so much to me'.

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