Aretha Franklin Dies Age 76
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Celebrity Deaths of 2018

The undisputed "Queen of Soul" has passed away.

Aretha Franklin -- "The Queen of Soul" with a legendary career spanning five decades -- has died aged 76.

The beloved music icon died on Thursday in her home according to the Associated Press, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

The AP obtained a statement from the family, detailing how the music icon passed away at 9:50 a.m. Thursday in her Detroit home.

"Franklin’s official cause of death was due to advance pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type," the statement read. "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. We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and fans all around the world. Thank you for your compassion and prayers. We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time."

She was initially reported "gravely ill" in her hometown of Detroit by various media outlets late Sunday evening.

The prolific gospel and R&B singer has dealt with various medical ailments throughout the past decade, undergoing surgery in 2010 to have a tumor removed, and again missed several shows in 2013 for undisclosed medical treatments.

The singer remained coy about her medical ailments when they again caused her to cancel several shows beginning in late 2017. Her last public performance was in November 2017, during which the singer looked notably thinner than usual.

After several years of modest success through the 1960s, Franklin's career took off like a bullet in 1967 with iconic hits like "Respect" and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman." She quickly earned the title "The Queen of Soul" and never looked back.

Throughout her six-decade career, she scored 112 hits on the Billboard charts. The prolific artist has won 18 Grammys and sold over 75 million records globally. In 1987, she became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

After a career lull in the 1970s, Franklin found herself back on top with a pair of hit albums in the 1980s and a well-received appearance in the "Blues Brothers" film as a waitress who mentors the boys.

By the mid-1980s, Fraklin was on fire again, scoring with top hits like "Freeway of Love," Jumpin' Jack Flash" and her number-one duet with George Michael, "I Knew You Were Waiting for Me."

She scored her 100th charting song in 2014, the first time a woman had achieved this feat, with a cover of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep," from her album, "Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics," and continued touring throughout her career to sold out venues and standing ovations.

Aretha Franklin remains one of the most influential voices and figures in entertainment history, serving for years an advocate for civil rights and a voice for women and minorities across the globe.

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