Aretha Franklin Dies at Age 76
Aretha Franklin died on Thursday, August 16, 2018, at the age of 76 from advanced pancreatic cancer. The time of her death was 9:50 a.m. The news broke very rapidly. By 10 a.m. regular television shows were interrupted for the breaking news to be reported.
The Queen of Soul and her music have been well-known all over the world for many years. Tributes poured in for the singer whose health was described as "gravely ill" for the last few days. She was getting hospice care at home where she was surrounded by family members and friends.
A special vigil for Aretha was held Wednesday, August 15 at 5 a.m. at her hometown church in Detroit. Pastor Robert Smith, Jr. of New Bethel Baptist Church said people gathered to pray for a miracle. Just one day later, the superstar died at her home.
Franklin canceled many concerts for health reasons last year and this year. Her last public concert was a year ago. She sang at an event for the Elton John AIDS Foundation at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan last November.
Visited By Celebrities
The singer got a lot of respect at her home in Detroit. On Tuesday, she was visited by the Rev. Jesse Jackson and singer Stevie Wonder. She has been divorced from her second husband since 1984. Even so, Glynn Turman also visited her.
Tributes for the iconic singer were on social media after the news of her grave illness came out on Sunday. Since then, her name was a trending topic on social media. Her many fans, celebrities, and world leaders sent tributes. Jay-Z and Beyoncé dedicated their concert at Ford Field in Detroit on Monday night to the Queen of Soul.
Others singers and celebrities such as Mariah Carey, Chance the Rapper, Ciara, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Rod Stewart, Patti LaBelle, Missy Elliott, and Tyler Perry paid tribute on social media so far. Now that the singer has died, people are expressing their condolences on social media.
Ms. Franklin had connections with former U.S. Presidents. She sang at Bill Clinton's first inauguration in 1993. Clinton posted on Twitter that he and Hillary are thinking about her and listening to her music that has been such an important part of their lives the last 50 years.
Aretha also sang at Barack Obama’s first inauguration in 2009. She was a Kennedy Center Honoree and received the National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush.
Singing at President Barack Obama’s first inauguration in 2009.
It was a very cold day when Aretha sang at President Obama's first inauguration. She was fashionable in her gray hat, coat, and gloves.
Her gray felt hat was topped with a giant, matching bow with three rhinestones as she sang My Country 'Tis of Thee. The hat got so much attention that the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. requested the hat be given to them to place in an exhibition at the museum. However, Aretha decided not to give it up.
Franklin's Many Honors
Franklin was the recipient of many honors and awards during her long career. She was the first woman inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. She has won 18 Grammy Awards and sold over 75 million records worldwide during her 66-year music career. She started out singing in church where her father was the preaching and her mother was the pianist and vocalist.
Rolling Stone ranked her the greatest singer of all time in 2010. She moved ahead of Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, John Lennon, and Elvis Presley.
Being honored at Kennedy Center Honoree by President George W. Bush
Aretha Franklin recorded Respect in 1967 that many people still sing today. In interviews over the years, she said she had no idea it would become one of her best selling songs.
Upcoming Honors for Aretha Franklin
Two honors were scheduled before Franklin's death. The legendary singer and her music will be celebrated.
- Gary Graff confirmed earlier this year that Jennifer Hudson will play the role of Franklin in her coming biopic.
- An all-star tribute concert to Franklin is scheduled for November 14, 2018, at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Millions of fans around the world are also mourning Aretha's death. She is survived by her four sons: Clarence Franklin, 63, Edward Franklin, 61, Ted White Jr., 54, and Kecalf Cunningham, 48. The singer gave birth to her first child when she was 12 years old and her second child when she was 14. She was unmarried at the time of both births. She gave them her last name. Her third son was born while she was married to Ted White. Her fourth son was born from a relationship with Aretha's road manager. All four of her children have different fathers.