The multiple Grammy award-winner is gravely ill and surrounded by relatives, a reporter and family friend has said. Franklin’s last performance was last year in Philadelphia as she attempted to bounce back from cancer.The family of the “Queen of Soul” have asked for “prayers and privacy.” a reporter and family friend of Aretha Franklin wrote on his website column on Monday, after describing how the singer was gravely ill.
“She will be so missed as a mother, sister, friend, cousin. But her legacy is larger than life,” added Roger Friedman in his Showbiz411 column.
“It’s not just that Rolling Stone called her the number 1 singer of all time, or that she is the Queen of Soul. Long live the Queen.”
Made first record in 1956
With a career spanning six decades, the 76 year-old Franklin is best known for hits such as “Respect” (1967), “I Say a Little Prayer” (1968), and “Spanish Harlem” (1971).
Other memorable songs include “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” (1968), “Freeway of Love” (1985), and “A Rose Is Still A Rose,” (1998).
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In 1987, she reignited her popularity by teaming up with George Michael for the No 1 hit “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me).”
Franklin has sold over 75 million records worldwide, and accumulated 18 Grammy awards, including one for Lifetime Achievement.
In total, she has sung on 112 singles that made the Billboard Hot 100, 17 of them hit the Top 10. Several of her acclaimed albums have also topped the charts.
In 1987, she became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Performed for presidents
In 2005, Franklin was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the highest award for an American civilian — by then-president George W. Bush.
She has also performed at three presidential inaugurations — including in January 2009 for Barack Obama.
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Franklin, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2010, last performed in November 2017 for the Elton John AIDS Foundation in New York.
Her final solo public performance was in Philadelphia in August 2017, which Friedman described as “a miraculous show as Aretha was already then fighting exhaustion and dehydration.”
Last year, Franklin released her last album “A Brand New Me,” performed with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, shortly before announcing her retirement.