Aretha Franklin, whose gospel-rooted singing and bluesy yet expansive delivery earned her the title “the Queen of Soul,” has died, a family statement said Thursday. She was 76.Franklin died at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit, surrounded by family and friends, according to a statement on behalf of Franklin’s family from her longtime publicist Gwendolyn Quinn.
The first woman admitted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, she had 88 Billboard chart hits during the rock era, tops among female vocalists. At the peak of her career — from 1967 to 1975 — she had more than two dozen Top 40 hits. Over the course of a professional career that spanned more than half a century, Franklin’s songs not only topped the charts but became part of the vernacular.
The “official cause of death was due to advanced pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, which was confirmed by Franklin’s oncologist, Dr. Philip Phillips of Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit,” the family statement said. Franklin’s fans paid tribute with flowers and a crown left on her Hollywood Walk of Fame star in Los Angeles. Her death comes three days after a source close to Franklin told CNN’s Don Lemon that the singer was in hospice care.