The “Queen of Soul” has passed away. Aretha Franklin died at her home in Detroit earlier today. She was 76. Her publicist said the cause of death was pancreatic cancer.
Franklin is considered one of the most influential singers of all time. Belting out hits like “Respect” and “A Natural Woman,” she opened the door for a bold new generation of singers and sound.
Adept at R&B, jazz, blues, Motown, and opera, Franklin was raised by her minister father in a musical home frequented by gospel, jazz and blues artists, including vocalist Dinah Washington and jazz pianist Art Tatum.
At the 1998 Grammy Award ceremony, she stepped in at the last minute for an ailing Luciano Pavarotti and brought the house down a rendition of Nessun Dorma. Later, when Pope Francis visited Philadelphia in 2015, Franklin sang the famous aria again in a performance with The Philadelphia Orchestra in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Here's a video from that night.
Franklin was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She won 18 Grammys and topped Rolling Stone’s 2010 list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.
Aretha Franklin sang for presidents, and the rest of us.