Aretha Franklin, the undisputed queen of soul music, has died at 76.
The American singer and cultural icon succumbed to pancreatic cancer, her family confirmed in a statement after her death at her home in Detroit on Thursday.
“It is with deep and profound sadness that we announce the passing of Aretha Louise Franklin, the Queen of Soul,” the statement 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 heart.”
Franklin was one of the most iconic musicians of her time, changing music as the world knew it with powerful soul performances after signing to Atlantic Records in 1967.
Her most famous hits include Respect, Say A Little Prayer and (You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman. One of America’s most cherished artists, she sung at historic moments such as Martin Luther King Jr’s funeral and Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration ceremony. She won 18 Grammy Awards and became the first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, in 1987.
Tributes have poured in for the mother of four, who overcame adversity when she gave birth to her first child at just 13 years old.
Barack and Michelle Obama said in a statement: “Through her compositions and unmatched musicianship, Aretha helped define the American experience. In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade-our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect.
John Legend said she was “the greatest vocalist” he “had ever known.”
Christina Aguilera paid tribute, saying “Aretha was such a timeless inspiration to me and so many others, the ultimate queen, thank you for the gift of your voice, music and unshakeable soul.”
Aretha helped define the American experience. In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade—our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect. May the Queen of Soul rest in eternal peace. pic.twitter.com/bfASqKlLc5
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 16, 2018
Salute to the Queen. The greatest vocalist I’ve ever known. 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽 #Aretha
— John Legend (@johnlegend) August 16, 2018
Aretha was such a timeless inspiration to me and so many others, the ultimate queen, thank you for the gift of your voice, music and unshakeable soul 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/me3FXBY4WZ
— Christina Aguilera (@xtina) August 16, 2018
Following the news of Aretha’s death, her songs began climbing music charts. Here, her 2015 performance that brought Barack Obama to tears. RIP to a music legend.