Aretha Franklin, “The Queen Of Soul,” has passed away after a brave battle with pancreatic cancer.
The beloved star was surrounded by friends and family when she passed away. “She will be so missed as a mother, sister, friend, cousin,” wrote Roger Friedman. “But her legacy is larger than life.”
Franklin underwent surgery in 2010 after being diagnosed with cancer. Despite frequent illness, the music icon maintained a regular concert schedule until November 2017.
Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Franklin moved to Detroit, Michigan at the age of 4. She would call Detroit her hometown for the remainder of her life.
In 1952 Franklin began singing with her father’s “gospel caravan” at various churches across the country. At the age of 18 Franklin told her father that she wated to record pop music with Sam Cooke. In 1960 she released her first single with Columbia records, “Today I Sing the Blues.” She would quickly rise through the R&B charts to become one of the most influential female singers of the 20th and 21st centuries.
In early 2017, Franklin said she was planning to retire, but would continue to perform at “some select things.”
The 76-year-old cultural icon was forced to cancel two concerts in March of this year. Her final professional performance at the Philadelphia Mann Center in August, 2017. During a Detroit performance in June of last year, Franklin left her hometown with a concerning message “Please keep me in your prayers.”
On August 13, 2018 Evrod Cassimy, a close personal friend, shared the sad news that Franklin’s was gravely ill. Around 10:00 AM a family doctor told TMZ “Aretha will pass.”
BREAKING NEWS: I am so saddened to report that the Queen of Soul and my good friend, Aretha Franklin is gravely ill. I spoke with her family members this morning. She is asking for your prayers at this time. I’ll have more details as I’m allowed to release.
— Evrod Cassimy (@EvrodCassimy) August 13, 2018