American music icon Aretha Franklin, whose impassioned, riveting voice made her a titan of world music, has died of pancreatic cancer. She was 76.
Franklin was one of the transcendent cultural figures of the 20th Century.
The Queen of Soul, as she was coronated in the 1960s, leaves a sprawling legacy of classic songs that includes “Respect,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “Chain of Fools,” “Baby I Love You,” “Angel,” “Think,” “Rock Steady,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and “Freeway of Love,” along with a bestselling gospel catalog.
In March, Franklin canceled two concerts scheduled in New Jersey. According to a statement from her management team, she was following doctors’ orders to stay off the road and rest completely for two months, and that she was “extremely disappointed she cannot perform as she had expected and hoped to.”
Franklin’s most recent performance was on Nov. 2, 2017, for the Elton John AIDS Foundation in New York. The previous June, visibly feeble but still summoning magic from her voice, Franklin played her final hometown Detroit show, an emotion-packed concert for thousands at an outdoor festival downtown.
She ended the performance with a then-cryptic appeal to her the hometown crowd: “Please keep me in your prayers.”