Legendary soul artist Aretha Franklin has died at 76. Franklin's longtime publicist Gwendolyn Quinn confirms in a statement on Thursday (Aug. 16). The icon had been battling pancreatic cancer.
"It is with deep and profound sadness that we announce the passing of Aretha Louise Franklin, the Queen of Soul," the statement reads. "Franklin, 76 years old, passed away on Thursday morning, August 16 at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit, MI, surrounded by family and loved ones. Franklin's official cause of death was due to advance pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, which was confirmed by Franklin's Oncologist, Dr. Philip Phillips of Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, MI."
"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," the statement continues. "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."
Worship leader and songwriter Darlene Zschech honors the late Franklin with these words: "I don't think there's many vocalists who have not been inspired by the queen of soul, Aretha Franklin."
Franklin Graham, minister and president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association writes: "The world lost an incredible voice today when 'the Queen of Soul' Aretha Franklin passed away. She once said, 'Being a singer is a natural gift. It means I'm using to the highest degree possible the gift that God gave me to use. I'm happy with that.'" he quoted the popular diva who always accredited God for her gift. I know she will be greatly missed. My prayers are with her family."
Gospel singer Yolanda Adams accredited the "queen of soul" for her own musical talents as well. "All Hail The QUEEN!!! Prayers and comfort to the Franklin Family as we say Good Bye to a TRUE LEGEND," Yolanda wrote on Instagram. "My heart is overwhelmed because Mrs. Aretha had such a great influence on My Musical Life. I grew up listening to her almost every day. Business Woman, Philanthropist, Mother..... her Achievements go on and on. I'm so glad I got a chance to tell her how much I love her."
Throughout her seven-decade career, Franklin paved the way as one of the most successful female artists in music history. With 18 Grammy Awards under her belt, and 75 million records sold worldwide, she was the first female performer to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Rolling Stone named her "the greatest singer of all time" in 2012, and she was also inducted into The Gospel Music Hall of Fame along with fellow mainstream music legend Elvis Presley (who also died on August 16, 41 years ago).