“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.
‘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.” Aretha Franklin’s family
At age 76 Aretha Franklin, the long-reigning Queen of Soul, died from advanced pancreatic cancer. Surrounded by family and friends at her home in Detroit where she had been under hospice care.
Her last public performance was at Elton John’s AIDS Foundation gala in New York in November last year
She performed at the inaugurations of Presidents Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama. Franklin was awarded the National Medal of the Arts by Clinton and President George W. Bush awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 2005. In January 2009 when she sang “My Country ’tis of Thee” at Obama’s inauguration. In 2015, she brought Obama to tears with a triumphant performance of “Natural Woman” at a Kennedy Center tribute to the song’s co-writer, Carole King.
Franklin, was born March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tennessee. Her father was the Rev. C.L. Franklin in Detroit and was among the most prominent Baptist ministers of his time. It was in her father’s New Bethel Baptist Church that Franklin, began playing piano at age 8. Franklin was in her early teens when she began touring with her father and she released a gospel album in 1956 through J-V-B Records. Four years later, she signed with Columbia Records producer John Hammond, who called Franklin the most exciting singer he had heard since a vocalist he promoted decades earlier, Billie Holiday. Franklin had two sons by the time she was 16, while struggling with her weight, family problems and financial predicaments. She was married from 1961 to 1969 to her manager, Ted White. She then married actor Glynn Turman in 1978 in Los Angeles but returned to her hometown of Detroit the following year after her father was shot by burglars and left semi-comatose until his death in 1984. She and Turman divorced that year.
The world will mourn this lady of song.