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BREAKING: Aretha Franklin has died at the age of 76

The Queen of Soul passed away on Thursday following a battle with pancreatic cancer.

2018-08-16

Aretha Franklin has sadly passed away at the age of 76.

Best known for her hits including 'Respect' and 'I Say a Little Prayer', the singer was revealed to be "gravely ill" and surrounded by her family earlier this week.

Franklin's long time publicist, Gwendolyn Quinn, confirmed the sad news that the Queen of Soul had passed away on Thursday from pancreatic cancer (August 16).

It had been reported that Franklin was visited at her home by Stevie Wonder, Reverend Jesse Jackson and her loved ones during her final days.

Born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1942, Aretha Louise Franklin began her career as a child singing gospel at New Bethel Baptist Church, before signing her first record deal at the age of 18.

After later signing to Atlantic Records in 1967, Franklin found worldwide commercial success with tracks including 'Respect', '(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman', 'Spanish Harlem' and 'Think'.

She later became the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, selling more than 75 million records worldwide and accumlating 18 Grammy awards, including one for Lifetime Achievement.

Over the course of her life Franklin notched up a total of 112 charted singles on Billboard, becoming the most charted female artist in the chart's history.

Known as one of the great divas of the 21st century, Aretha boasted legions of LGBT fans, and demonstrated her support for the community when she sang at a same-sex wedding in 2011, performing staple hits including 'I Will Always Love You', 'I Say a Little Prayer', and 'Respect'. 

Franklin's last performance came in November 2017 during Elton John's 25th anniversary gala for the Elton John Aids Foundation in New York, and her final public was in Phildephelphia in August of the same year.

One of the few remaining icons of 21st century music, she will be greatly missed.