American singer and songwriter Aretha Franklin, who became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, died in Detroit on Thursday at the age of 76, reported the BBC. Franklin was famously described as “the queen of soul” and won 18 Grammy Awards in her lifetime.
In 2010, Franklin had been diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer and had since been unwell.
Last year, she announced her retirement from music, having released her final album, A Brand New Me, in November. The same month, she performed for the last time at a gala in New York to help out the Elton John Aids Foundation. Despite the retirement, she was due to headline two shows in April but had to cancel after medical advice, reported The Guardian.
In 2005, United States President George W Bush awarded Franklin the Presidential Medal of Freedom, saluting her for “capturing the hearts of millions of Americans”, reported BBC. She also performed at 2009 for Barack Obama’s inauguration as the US president.
Franklin was married to Ted White from 1961 to 1969, and then to actor Glynn Turman from 1978 to 1984. She had four sons, with Ted White Jr., or Teddy Richards, playing backup guitar at her live concerts, reported ABC News.
A few of her best hits include Respect, Think, The Long and Winding Road, (You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman, Through The Storm, A Rose is Still A Rose, and A Natural Woman, among others.