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“Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin Dies at 76

Aretha Franklin performs onstage during the 'Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives' Premiere Concert.
Aretha Franklin. Noam Galai/Getty Images

R&B legend Aretha Franklin has died at age 76, the Associated Press has confirmed. A representative for Franklin, Gwendolyn Quinn, told AP that Franklin died Thursday from advanced pancreatic cancer. Franklin’s death follows reports on Monday that she had become “seriously ill” and was receiving hospice care.

Franklin, who was known as “the Queen of Soul,” rose to superstardom in 1967 with songs like “(You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman” and “Respect,” a reimagining of the Otis Redding song that surpassed the original’s fame. She won a total of 18 Grammys over the past five decades, including a Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 1987 became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


Franklin was honored by multiple presidents during her lifetime: In 1994, Bill Clinton praised her at the Kennedy Center Honors, saying that, “You could say that Hillary and I went to law school with Aretha, because there was hardly a day when we didn’t listen to one of her songs.” George W. Bush presented Franklin with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005, and she sang at Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009.


Franklin released her most recent album, A Brand New Me, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra just last year. She continued to tour up until this year, when she was forced to cancel multiple performances in March, citing doctor’s orders.

Read more in Slate about Aretha Franklin:
Aretha Franklin Was the Defining Voice of the 20th Century
How Aretha Franklin Created the Greatest Cover of All Time
“Rest in Peace, Soul Sister”: Musicians and Admirers Pay Tribute to Aretha Franklin