Published: Thu, August 16, 2018
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

'Queen of Soul' Aretha Franklin dies - - Columbia, South Carolina

'Queen of Soul' Aretha Franklin dies - - Columbia, South Carolina

Aretha Franklin, the "Queen of Soul", died at age 76 of advanced pancreatic cancer.

Franklin, who sang with matchless style on such classics as "Think, ' "I Say a Little Prayer" and her signature song, "Respect", announced her retirement from touring a year ago".

She had been critically ill recently and had been receiving hospice care in her home.

Despite her hardships she managed to open up a new audience in the 1980s with the release of the Who's Zoomin' Who album and its accompanying hit, performed with Eurythmics, Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves.

Aretha Franklin - the "Queen of Soul" who performed for multiple presidents and was one of the best-selling musicians of the 20th century - has died. Those two albums included her takes on songs like "Chain Of Fools", "Think", "Ain't No Way", and "I Say A Little Prayer". Amid rumours of infidelity, her parents separated in 1948 and her mother moved to Buffalo with a son from a previous relationship.

Franklin's ability to survive personal and professional storms added to her legacy and ensured that her title as royalty in R&B music would not pass on to anyone else.

She was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom - America's highest civilian honor - in 2005 by President George W. Bush.

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Probably Aretha Franklin's best known song, Respect, was released in 1967 at the height of a tumultuous period in the battle for United States civil rights. She sold more than 75 million records and tallied 112 Billboard-charting singles.

"This is it." Franklin said she wanted to spend more time with her grandchildren.

She cancelled two concerts a year ago on doctors' orders, including a show in Newark, New Jersey that would have taken place on her 76th birthday. Even in her 70s, she was still performing. She signed on with Columbia Records and, in a few years, she would have her first Top Forty hit on American Radio.

"Gospel goes with me wherever I go", Franklin said in an interview with PBS.

"I might be just 26, but I'm an old woman in disguise - 26 goin' on 65", she told the magazine shortly before ending her first marriage to Ted White.

As a teenager, Aretha's father helped her launch a gospel career. A biography said that Franklin was "overwhelmed by fear and obsessed with control" and was afraid her fans would forget her. Franklin was also known for her fear of flying; she frequently took buses instead. She said last February, "This will be my previous year". In subsequent months, she canceled scheduled performances in Boston and Toronto with management again saying that her doctors had told her to "stay off the road and rest completely".

Franklin announced she would stop touring back in February 2017. Her last live performance was November 7, 2017, for the Elton John AIDS Foundation gala.

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