Aretha Franklin, whose chart-topping hits spanned five decades made her universally recognized as the Queen of Soul, has died at 76 from pancreatic cancer.
The news was confirmed by a statement to the Associated Press from her publicist Gwendolyn Quinn.
A self-taught pianist and vocalist, Franklin began her career as a teenager singeing at her father’s Detroit church. She first hit the national stage in 1967 with her classic version of “Respect.”
Franklin would go on to release over 40 albums resulting in 18 Grammy wins and a record 77 song entries on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Franklin’s output has been sampled over 400 times by other artists, including rappers such as Mos Def (“Ms. Fat Booty”), Outkast (“Jazzy Belle”) Slum Village (“Selfish”) and Rapsody (“Laila’s Wisdom”). Other artists, such as En Vogue, has topped the charts remaking her songs (“Giving Him Something He Can Feel”).
Her work lead the singer to the first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
“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,” said the Franklin family. “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.”