The undisputed ‘Queen of Soul’ dies aged 76

Aretha FranklinAretha Franklin. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

Aretha Franklin has died at the age of 76 years old. The undisputed Queen of Soul has been celebrated by a large number of famous artists and politicians.


Earlier this week, it became known that Aretha Franklin was seriously ill. On Thursday,the announcement came that Franklin, who many considered one of the world’s greatest vocalists, was dead.

“In what is one of the darkest moments of our lives, we can’t find appropriate words to express the pain in our hearts. We have lost our family’s matriarch and rock,’’ said a statement from the family.

A wide range of famous artists expressed grief over Franklin’s passing. It also brought President Donald Trump and former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama out of the woodwork to pay their respects.

“She helped us feel more connected to each other, more filled with hope, more human,” said Obama and his wife Michelle in a statement.
‘’Will be missed’’

‘’She was a wonderful woman with a wonderful gift from God, her voice. She will be missed!’’ wrote Donald Trump on Twitter.

Paul McCartney describes Franklin as a great source of inspiration, and star producer Quincy Jones said the Soul Queen set a standard that all other female vocalists are measured against.

‘’The loss of Aretha Franklin is a blow for anyone who loves real music,’’ wrote Elton John on Instagram.

On iTunes, Franklin’s collection, “30 Greatest Hits” rose to first place in the list of the most played albums on Thursday.

“Aretha Franklin was one of the most distinctive profiles of the soul era. She was a fantastic singer with incredible musicality and a great, and big, voice,” said professor Anne Danielsen at the University of Oslo to NTB news.

Continued despite illness

Franklin died as a result of pancreatic cancer, her spokeswoman Gwendolyn Quinn reported.

Already by 2010 Franklin received a cancer diagnosis, but she still kept going as an artist until a few months ago. Her last appearance was at a private event organised by Elton John’s Aids Foundation in New York last November. A few months earlier, she had announced that she would put the touring company on shelf and only perform on special occasions.

Earlier this year she cancelled more concerts after she was told by her doctor to rest and stay away from touring.

18 Grammy Awards

During the last few days, Franklin had visits from both the singer Stevie Wonder and the civil rights era preacher and politician, Jesse Jackson.

The church in Detroit where her father was a priest and where she herself sang as a little girl, held a church service on Wednesday where the congregation prayed for her.

Aretha Franklin’s career extends over decades. Having begun as a gospel singer, she became one of the world’s most famous artists in the genres of soul and rhythm and blues.

She is especially known for songs like “Respect,” “Think,” and “I Say a Little Prayer” from the late 1960s.During her career she was awarded a total of 18 Grammy prizes.

Since she was considered a strong and independent African-American artist with a firm grip on her own career, she became an icon of the civil rights movement. She has sung at the inauguration ceremonies of three democratic presidents, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.


© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today