The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, has died at the age of 76 in her Detroit home at 9:50 a.m. this morning, her family confirming rumors that she had pancreatic cancer.
Her family said in a statement to the Associated Press:
"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."
Franklin had been suffering from previously undisclosed health issues, enough for her doctors to pull her from touring back in March.
The Queen of Soul began singing in her father's church in Detroit, Michigan at the age of 9. She began her recording career with Columbia records at 18, but didn't get far with them.
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Then in 1967 she was signed to Atlantic Records where she became the most charted female artist in history. In total, she had 112 charted singles on Billboard, including 77 Hot 100 entries, 17 top ten pop singles, 100 R&B entries and 20 number-one R&B singles.
Aretha won 18 Grammy Awards and sold over 75 million records worldwide during the course of her career and was still recording music until recently.
The legendary singer made history becoming the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. She was also inducted into the U.K. Music Hall of Fame (2005) and the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame (2012).
Aretha Franklin brought joy and passion to the world with her music. Songs like "Respect" and "Say A Little Prayer" are multi-generational hits. She will live on in our hearts for generations to come.