Aretha Franklin dead: Queen of Soul loses battle with pancreatic cancer age 76

Thursday, August 16, 2018
By Paul Martin

ARETHA FRANKLIN has died at the age of 76 from advance pancreatic cancer, her publicist has confirmed.

By MINNIE WRIGHT
Express.co.uk
Thu, Aug 16, 2018

Reports recently emerged the Queen of Soul was “gravely ill” in Detroit, nine months after her last public performance at the Elton John AIDS Foundation gala in New York.

Roger Friedman broke the news in his online Showbiz 411 column, saying: “The family is asking for prayers and privacy.”

The superstar was said to be surrounded by her loved ones.

Aretha was previously diagnosed with cancer in 2010, later confirming she had had a tumour removed.

Aretha was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1942 and was the fourth of five children.

The soul legend began singing at a young age a church in Detroit, where her father was a minister.

She signed to Columbia Records at the age of 18 with ambitions to emulate the career of singer songwriter Sam Cooke and move into secular pop music.

Aretha found modest success during her time with Columbia, achieving her first top 40 single with Rock-a-Bye Your baby with a Dixie Melody, which garnered her some international fame.

It was when she moved to Atlantic Records in 1966 that her career took off and she hit the number one spot with I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You).

Her similarly titled debut album with her new label also contained one of her most popular hits, (You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman.

Aretha went on to release arguably her most famous song, an upbeat rendition of Otis Redding’s Respect, which became a huge feminist anthem and earned the star two Grammy awards in 1968.

In 1968, she was invited to perform at Martin Luther King Jr’s funeral, cementing her position as a symbol of black empowerment during the civil rights movement.

Although her stellar career took a dip in the late 1970s as disco took over the charts, she revived her popularity in 1980 when she appeared in the film The Blues Brothers, in which she performed an impassioned edition of Think.

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