Music icon Aretha Franklin has passed away at the age of 76, TMZ reports. The legend died after a hard fought battle against advanced pancreatic cancer. Franklin passed away in her Detroit home surrounded by family and friends.
Stories surrounding Franklin’s diminishing health circulated the press for years, with the most recent dating back to a 2017 statement from her rep dismissing rumors she was on her deathbed.
Because her health status so frequently circulated the news cycle, fans waited in vigil over the last 48 hours, hoping the star would pull through. The world paused with the heartbreaking news she passed this morning.
A statement from her family reads: “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.”
Continuing, “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. 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.”
Born in Memphis before relocating to Detroit, Franklin owned one of the most powerful voices and talents in music history. Her most notable hits included “Respect,” and “Natural Woman.” Franklin’s music has scored 77 Hot 100 chart slots, amounting to 18 Grammys. Franklin made history as the first woman to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
SOURCE: TMZ, PEOPLE