Aretha Franklin has passed away at the age of 76.
The news was confirmed by publicist Gwendolyn Quinn through a statement via Franklin's family, sharing that the legendary artist had passed at 9.50am on Thursday at her home in Detroit after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
Once in a while a voice comes along and defines a genre — defines a generation. Instantly recognisable, it is a force that gives a nod to some higher being.
Grounded in gospel, Franklin was that voice. She was the voice.
Signing to Atlantic Records in 1967, Franklin was quick to solidify herself on the scene, with songs Respect, (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman and I Say A Little Prayer earning her the rightful title of “The Queen Of Soul”.
More than just a voice though, Franklin had a far-reaching cultural impact. Spanning far beyond music into politics and bringing a higher level of consciousness into society, she demanded respect with such fervour that her music fast became the anthem for not only women in a time of transformation but for humanity as a whole.
A further champion of civil rights, Franklin worked closely with the Rev. Martin Luther King and performed at his memorial, and at the 2009 inauguration of president Barack Obama. The tidal wave of accolades she holds only begins to scratch the surface of understanding the dissemination of her influence.
She was the first woman to be admitted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
She sold over 75 million records and is one of the best-selling artists of all time.
She earned 18 Grammy Awards, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and a Grammy Legend Award.
She was the first woman to have 100 songs chart on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Rap chart.
She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.
She captured the emotion and drive behind both the civil rights and women’s movements, and her music and her legacy will endure. Vale, Aretha.