Aretha Franklin death: Queen of Soul dies aged 76 after battle with pancreatic cancer

Aretha Franklin has died at her home in Detroit, her publicist has said.

The Queen of Soul died aged 76 on Thursday, following a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer.

Publicist Gwendolyn Quinn said that Franklin passed Thursday at 9:50am at her home in Detroit, surrounded by friends and family.

The statement said: “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.”

The family added: “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.”

Franklin had reportedly been “fighting for her life” since last week as friends and family rallied around her at her home.

On Tuesday, her nephew Tim Franklin gave an update on his aunt’s health, telling fans he believed she would “pull through it”.

Soul legend: Aretha last performed in November 2017 (Getty Images for The Thelonious)

He told People: “I saw her a week ago Friday and we talked for about 45 minutes to an hour. My brother was there on Saturday and she was alert, talking, laughing, joking.

“We believe she’ll pull through it, she believes she’ll pull through it, and that’s the important thing.”

Franklin’s family thanked fans for their support via her publicist earlier this week.

Aretha Franklin at the Grammy Awards in 1998 (EPA)

“Aretha Franklin has been the Matriarch of the Franklin family since the passing of all of her siblings,” said Quinn.

“The love she has for her family is above reproach and was evident in the warm smiles she was able to share with her nephew during his very brief visit two weeks ago.

“She is seriously ill and surrounded by family members who appreciate the outpouring of love and support they have received.”

Aretha Franklin on stage in 1967 (Rex Features)

Shortly before her birthday in March, Franklin was forced to cancel two upcoming performances when doctor’s ordered her to rest.

Franklin had been due to perform at the New Jersey Performing Arts Centre and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

But in a statement released by her team at the time, it was revealed that an “extremely disappointed” Franklin had been ordered to “rest completely” for two months.

Her last performance was in November 2017 at the Elton John AIDS Foundation gala in New York.

Rock star Rod Stewart performing with Aretha Franklin and actor Dustin Hoffman()

There, she was hailed as “the greatest singer of all time” as she gave a rare performance at the close of last night’s event, hosted by How I Met Your Mother star Neil Patrick Harris.

It is understood that a tribute concert will honour the Queen of Soul this November, spearheaded by legendary music producer Clive Davis.

US publication Billboard reports that the one-off show, for which there is no indication of a line-up, will take place at Madison Square Gardens in New York in November.

It is thought that the concert will see famous faces cover some of Franklin’s greatest hits, including Respect, Natural Women and I Say a Little Prayer.

Franklin first enjoyed commercial success and global acclaim after signing to Atlantic Records in 1967 and releasing songs including Respect, Think and (You Make Me Feel) Like a Natural Woman.

She went on to release albums including Lady Soul, Young, Gifted and Black and Amazing Grace. She won a total of 18 Grammy Awards during her career.

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