‘Queen of Soul,’ Aretha Franklin, dies at age 76 by Victor Chiles & Zila Sanchez



Aretha Franklin in concert at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles on Aug. 2, 2015. (Lawrence K. Ho/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Legendary singer Aretha Louise Franklin – well known as the “Queen of Soul” – passed away on Thursday morning at the age of 76.

The official cause of death was due to “advanced pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, which was confirmed by Franklin’s oncologist, Dr. Philip Phillips of Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit,” according to the statement released by her publicist, Gwendolyn Quinn.

Several fans and celebrities paid tribute to the singer after hearing about her sudden death.

“Aretha helped define the American experience. In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade—our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect. May the Queen of Soul rest in eternal peace,” tweeted former president Barack Obama, @BarackObama.

N.C. A&T students also shared their thoughts and feelings on the R&B singer.

“I think Aretha’s death was very unexpected,” said Darrian Lynch, senior social work

student, “Especially when they said that she was fine a few days ago.”  

Franklin had been battling pancreatic cancer since 2010. After a long fight, she passed at 9:50 a.m. in her home city of Detroit surrounded by close friends and family, the statement said

Although her sudden death leaves family, friends, and fans in mourning, Franklin also leaves behind a legacy.

She was born in Memphis, Tennessee on March 25, 1942. Her mother, Barbara Siggers Franklin, was a gospel singer and pianist. Her parents separated when Franklin was 6, leaving her in her father’s care. Franklin’s mother died later from a heart attack when Franklin was 10 years old, according to CNN.

Her career started at the age of 14 when she toured with a gospel group with her father, who was a prominent minister and well known for his gospel singing.

She signed with Columbia Records in 1960, and later signed with Atlantic Records where she started her journey as a soul and R&B artist.

From 1667 to 1968 she racked up Top 10 hits. Her songs were not only great sellers, they were also anthems for the Black community and feminists for social change during the civil rights era. She also sang at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral following his assassination.

She leaves 20 No.1 Hits and a total of 18 Grammys.

“We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family,” said a statement shared by one of Franklin’s family members. “The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds. We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on.”

Article written by Victor Chiles and Zila Sanchez