CLEVELAND, Ohio – Music legend Aretha Franklin, the woman behind hits like “Respect,” “Think” and many more, died Thursday at the age of 76.
News spread early this week that Franklin was “gravely ill” at a Detroit hospital surrounded by her family, who were asking for thoughts and prayers. Numerous outlets reported her death Thursday around 10 a.m.
Franklin is considered by many to be one of, if not the most important and influential, female musician of all time. The “Queen of Soul” was the first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
Franklin, a native of Memphis and daughter of a well-known Rev. C.L. Franklin, eventually moved to Detroit with her family right as soul music was taking off. Franklin rose to prominence as a singer during the early 1960s with a series of singles that landed on the Billboard charts.
Franklin’s career hit its high point in the late 1960s after she signed to Atlantic Records. In 1967, Franklin released the landmark soul tune, “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Loved You).” The album of the same name would go gold. Its opening track was Franklin’s iconic cover of Otis Redding’s “Respect.”
Franklin only got bigger from there, releasing major albums such as “Lady Soul” and hit singles like “Chain of Fools,” “Spanish Harlem” and the aforementioned “Think.” She appeared on the cover of Time magazine in 1968.
Over the course of her career, Franklin won 18 Grammys and sold more than 75 million records worldwide. During her later years, Franklin made a famous appearance in the film “The Blues Brothers,” collaborated with artists like Lauryn Hill and George Michael, and performed at President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009.
Franklin announced she would be retiring from touring in 2017, but told the Chicago Tribune she planned to continue with music — “The future of soul music? Me, because I’m not quitting. I’m not sitting down.”
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