Aretha Franklin, “Queen of Soul,” died Thursday morning due to advanced pancreatic cancer at age 76, according to a family statement.
“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,” Franklin’s family said.
Franklin had struggled with pancreatic cancer since December 2010 when she had undergone a mysterious but “highly successful” surgery. Since her comeback show in Chicago in 2011, Franklin cancelled several performances because of her declining health from 2011 to 2017.
Signed to Atlantic Records, the 18-time Grammy-award-winning singer from Detroit was known for hits such as “Respect,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” in the 1960s and 70s and sold 75 million records during her lifetime.
Elton John tweeted in tribute to Franklin minutes after her death was announced.
“The whole world will miss her but will always rejoice in her remarkable legacy. The Queen is dead. Long live the Queen,” John said.