Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin died Thursday at the age of 76, the Associated Press reported.
Known for hits such as “Respect” and “Chain of Fools,” the icon influenced artists for decades, making hits for long after she got a foothold in the music industry in the 1950s.
The news comes after Franklin’s hospitalization was reported Monday. Her family told local Detroit news station WDIV-TV at the time that the singer was “gravely ill.” She was reportedly visited at home by Stevie Wonder and the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
When news of her illness broke, Beyoncé and Jay-Z dedicated their concert in Detroit on Monday to Franklin, declaring their love for her.
Franklin was named the greatest singer of all time by Rolling Stone in 2010 and it’s easy to see why. The acclaimed singer was the recipient of 18 Grammy Awards and received the The Presidential Medal Of Freedom in 2005. Franklin also became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
Franklin was born March 25, 1942 in Memphis, Tennessee but her family moved to Detroit a few years later. Her father was famed preacher and civil rights activist C.L. Franklin. Franklin’s love of music began when she started singing in her father’s church on Sundays, according to the Detroit Historical Society, and when she was 17 her grandmother brought her to New York to pursue her singing ambitions. From there, Franklin’s music career, which spanned gospel, R&B, soul, and pop, took off.
Last year, Franklin announced her plans to retire after the release of her new album in an interview with WDIV-TV.
“I feel very, very enriched and satisfied with respect to where my career came from, and where it is now,” Franklin said. “I’ll be pretty much satisfied, but I’m not going to go anywhere and just sit down and do nothing. That wouldn’t be good either.”
A film about Franklin’s life, starring Jennifer Hudson is expected to start filming next year, according to Rolling Stone.
Franklin is survived by her four sons, Kecalf Cunningham, Ted White Jr., and Edward and Clarence Franklin.
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