NewsOne reports that Aretha Franklin—the Queen of Soul—has passed away after battling with pancreatic cancer. She was 76 years old.
On Sunday (August 12), entertainment news site Showbiz 411 reported that the singer was “gravely ill” and surrounded by family in Detroit. As noted by Showbiz, her last performance after allegedly being diagnosed with cancer in 2010 (Franklin initially denied reports) was in November 2017 for the Elton John AIDS Foundation in New York. “Her final public performance was at Philadelphia’s Mann Center in August 2017,” they wrote. “It was a miraculous show as Aretha was already then fighting exhaustion and dehydration.”
Though details surrounding her condition were not shared at the time, a “longtime friend” told PEOPLE on Monday (August 13) that she had been sick for a long time. “She did not want people to know and she didn’t make it public,” the source stated. Another source confirmed with the Associated Press that she was “seriously ill.”
Throughout her career, Franklin solidified herself as one of the best-selling artists of all time. She sold over 75 million records worldwide and garnered multiple honors, including becoming the first female performer to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. In 2010, Rolling Stone named her one of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, as well as one of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.
Cathy Hughes, Founder and Chairperson of Urban One, Inc. and close friend of Franklin, sent her condolences.
“Aretha’s music commanded ‘R-E-S-P-E-C-T,’ and that song not only became a rallying cry during the civil rights movement but also served as an anthem for women who still identify with its message, today,” Hughes wrote in a statement. “Her timeless classics also became historical markers in our personal journeys and our collective story as a community. She understood her progress was our progress, her success was our success, and when the door opened for her, it opened for us as well. Aretha was unapologetically black. She was committed to black music and black radio. She understood its role in her career and remained loyal to our company across the years.”
As reported by NewsOne, Franklin is survived by her four sons—Clarence, Edward, Ted White, Jr. and Kecalf Cunningham—and died surrounded by loved ones. May the Queen of Soul rest in peace.
This story was updated on Thursday, August 16, 2018 at 1:13 p.m. EST.
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