Remembering Aretha: Offering Nothing But RESPECT For The Queen Of Soul

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The singer passed away after battling pancreatic cancer.

Aretha Franklin passed away at 9:50 am local time at her home in Detroit on August 16, 2018, due to advanced pancreatic cancer. She was 76. After hearing the news, stars and fans have paid Aretha Franklin tribute on social media.

In a statement, her family said:

"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. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds.
 
"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."

Known as "the Queen of Soul", Aretha's contributions to music history are nothing short of legendary. Over a professional career spanning seven decades, she has won 18 Grammy awards, including eight back-to-back awards for the best female R&B performance.

Aretha has had 88 Billboard chart hits, and was the first woman admitted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Her emotional voice had the power to transform songs and the way we listened to them. Otis Redding's "Respect" became a feminist and civil rights anthem. The Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby" became an almost heroic figure. Audrey Hepburn's "Moon River" became a soulful swinger of a song.

Aretha Franklin's role in the Civil Rights Movement

Franklin's impact on the world was not limited to music and the arts. She used her art as a platform for social justice, refusing to perform for segregated audiences. Her music broke barriers, with people of all races and walks of life coming to concerts.

In the 70s, Aretha even offered to pay bail for political activist Angela Davis, who was arrested after guns used in a failed attempt to free a black revolutionary were allegedly traced back to her. Though Davis was not eligible for bail at the time, the activist never forgot Aretha's kind offer. (Davis was released two years later on a $102,500 bail.)

Health issues

Her health issues caused her to lie low in recent years. Following the cancellation of two shows in 2010 due to abdominal pain, she was diagnosed with an "unspecified illness" in 2010. This was widely reported to be pancreatic cancer, but this was not confirmed until after she performed in November 2017 for Elton John's Aids Foundation concert — her last live performance.

Stars have emerged to express their grief and pay Aretha Franklin tribute on social media.

Barbra Streisand

John Legend

Lenny Kravitz

Barack Obama

Paul McCartney

Listen to HSA's Aretha Franklin tribute playlist:

H/T: CNN, The Sun, AJC