DETROIT — The Motor City’s own Aretha Franklin has died at the age of 76 on Thursday morning with her friends and family by her side. The ‘Queen of Soul’ singer had several health issues over the years but it was pancreatic cancer that took her life.
Franklin was an accomplished musician with 88 Billboard hits from 1952-2012. She was best known for the song “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” which was a No. 1 single in 1967. Other famous songs included “Chain of Fools,” “Spanish Harlem” and “Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do).”
Several Detroit venues are showing special tributes on their marquees including the Fox Theatre, Comerica Park, Little Caesars Arena and even Cobo Center. Meanwhile, flowers are placed near her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
“A national treasure to everyone,” said music legend Berry Gordy on Twitter. “But to me personally, Aretha Franklin was my dear, dear friend, my homegirl, and I loved her a lot. From seeing her as a baby singing and playing at the piano at her father’s home, to her giving a rousing performance at the White House, she has always been amazing. No matter how the music has changed over the years, she remained so relevant. Though never signed to Motown, Aretha was considered part of my family. We always shared fond memories of the Motor City.”
Franklin was born on March 25, 1942 in Memphis, Tennessee. Her family moved to Detroit just before her fifth birthday. Her father became a pastor at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit. Meanwhile, her mother died of a heart attack when she was 10 years old.
Her death on August 16 comes on the anniversary of Elvis Presley’s passing back in 1977. Ironically, it also happened on Madonna’s birthday.
Here are some tributes from Twitter:
— Smokey Robinson (@smokey_robinson) August 16, 2018
Aretha helped define the American experience. In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade—our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect. May the Queen of Soul rest in eternal peace. pic.twitter.com/bfASqKlLc5
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 16, 2018