Aretha Franklin has passed away, it has been confirmed. The I Say a Little Prayer singer died, aged 76, at her home in Detroit on Thursday following a long battle with pancreatic cancer. The star's publicist confirmed the news to the Associated Press. Her family released a statement, saying: "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. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family."
Aretha Franklin has passed away at the age of 76
Earlier this week, entertainment journalist Roger Friedman revealed that the legendary singer was "gravely ill" with her family asking for "prayers and privacy". In his online column Showbiz 411, he wrote: "Aretha is surrounded by family and people close to her. She will be so missed as a mother, sister, friend, cousin. But her legacy is larger than life. It’s not just that Rolling Stone called her the number 1 singer of all time, or that she is the Queen of Soul. Long live the Queen."
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The legendary icon was diagnosed with cancer in 2010, though she continued to perform as she dealt with her illness. Her last performance was reportedly on 2 November 2017 for the Elton John AIDS Foundation - where fans were shocked by her dramatic weight loss - though her final public performance was in August 2017.
During her incredible career, the soul star has gained 17 Grammy awards, three special recognition prizes and a Golden Globe. In February 2017, she announced that she would be retiring from performing - though she still wanted to continue recording her music. She told radio station WDIV Local 4: "I am retiring this year. I will be recording, but this will be my last year in concert. This is it."
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