By Anita Eboigbe
Singer Aretha Franklin popularly known as “The Queen of Soul is dead.
A statement issued on Thursday on behalf of Franklin’s family by her longtime publicist Gwendolyn Quinn, said Franklin, 76, died at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit surrounded by family and friends.
The “official cause of death was due to advance pancreatic cancer of the neuron-endocrine type, which was confirmed by Franklin’s oncologist, Dr. Philip Phillips of Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit,” the family said.
“In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our hearts.
“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’s family said.
Her death came days after the singer’s health was reported to be failing and appeared frail in recent photos, although she kept her struggles private.
Franklin began her career as a child singing gospel act at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, where her father, C. L. Franklin was minister.
In 1960, at the age of 18, she embarked on a secular career, recording for Columbia Records but only achieving modest success.
Following her signing to Atlantic Records in 1967, Franklin achieved commercial acclaim and success with songs such as “Respect’’, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”, “Spanish Harlem’’ and “Think’’.
At the time of death, Franklin had been awarded 38 times with 49 nominations.
The awards included 18 Grammy Awards, three Grammy special awards, three NAACP Image Award, three American Music Awards and one TV Land Award.