Aretha Franklin dies in Detroit, surrounded by family and friends

Sergio Cunningham
August 17, 2018

Franklin, a 17-time Grammy Award-winner, was diagnosed with cancer in 2010, and delivered her last performance at the Elton John AIDS Foundation party in NY last November. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family, ' a statement from her family read. Her popularity stayed strong with "Freeway Of Love", and the George Michael duet "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)". One of those select events was a gala for Elton John's 25th anniversary of his AIDS foundation in November in New York City, where Franklin closed the event with a collection of songs including "I Say a Little Prayer" and "Freeway".

She then added, "We love you", according to the Detroit Free Press and thanked the legendary singer for the "beautiful music". "Aretha was one of the best-selling artists of all times and was popular for churning hits like 'Respect" and "You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman".

Funeral arrangements will be announced in the coming days, the statement said, according to CNN.

Aretha spoke about her health past year, after she was forced to deny a cruel death hoax after a tweet claiming she had died went viral.

Her last public performance was at Elton John's AIDS Foundation gala in NY in November a year ago. For more than 50 years, she stirred our souls.

Aretha Franklin dead
Aretha Franklin dead The star passed away surrounded by her loved ones

Born in Memphis and raised in Detroit, Franklin spent her childhood singing in her father's church, laying the groundwork for a career built on gospel and soul.

She also performed at the inaugurations of three presidents, including Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. She was a great woman, with a wonderful gift from God, her voice. Aretha was a rising star in the R&B world but to reach the next level of stardom, she knew she had to shake things up. "Not only was she a uniquely brilliant singer, but her commitment to civil rights made an indelible impact on the world". These songs would go on to earn her the title of Queen of Soul.

TMZ founder and host of Fox News Channel's "OBJECTified" Harvey Levin called in to "America's Newsroom" on Thursday to react to the passing of Aretha Franklin.

A biopic, Queen of Soul, will star Jennifer Hudson, who Franklin considered one of her first choices to play her.

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.

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