LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Queen of Soul has died at her home in Detroit. She was 76.

Aretha Louise Franklin, the soaring voice behind R&B classics “Respect”, “Natural Woman,” “I Say A Little Prayer,” “Chain Of Fools,” “Think,” and dozens of other Top 40 hits, died Thursday at her home in Detroit, surrounded by her friends and family, according to a publicist.

The iconic singer’s family had asked for prayers Sunday night and said Franklin had been gravely ill.

Franklin first battled cancer in 2010. Her officials cause of death was due to advance pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type.

“We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds,” her family said in a statement.

Franklin during her early years as an artist on the Atlantic Records label. (Photo credit: Express Newspapers/Getty Images)

Franklin had a legendary career in music spanning decades, winning multiple awards (18 Grammys), appearing in movies like “The Blues Brothers” and generally living as a pop culture icon and fixture since the early ’60s.

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Pop culture loved her and she loved it right back. A big soap fan, she made no secret of her addiction and talked her way into going backstage and presenting at the daytime Emmys.

She charted on the Billboard charts 112 times, including 17 Top Ten pop singles. She was the first female performer added to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

Her signature song “Respect” was iconic almost the second it hit the turntable. Its driving beat was a call for women of the 60’s to demand men be good to them — or else.

Notoriously afraid to fly, Franklin traveled everywhere by bus.

Following a 2017 death hoax, Franklin said she had one more album in her — the stage of that project is unclear.

Portrait of American soul singer Aretha Franklin as she wears a strapless dress and pearl necklace and has her hair in a bun, 1977. (Photo credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Recently, Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson was signed to play Franklin in a bio-pic of her life. Franklin, the daughter of a preacher, grew up singing in the church. While Memphis-born, she is synonymous with Detroit, where she lived for decades.

She began her career in 1956 and was an immediate hit with R&B and soul audiences. She crossed over to pop almost by the early 60s when her career really took off.

RELATED LINK: The Queen Of Soul — Her Life In Pictures

Her hits have been sampled, copied, and redone an inordinate amount of times, including “I Knew You Were Waiting” (a duet with George Michael), “Freeway of Love,” “Rock Steady,” and “You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman.”

Other hits include “Jump To It,” “Who’s Zoomin Who?” and “Until You Come Back To Me.”

Her versatility was also something of legend. Famously, in 1998, tenor Luciano Pavarotti had to bow out of the Grammys because of a sore throat and she sang the operatic classic “Nessun Dorna” – yes, she could sing opera, too – and won international acclaim in the process.

Aretha Franklin performs at the Festival of Families as Pope Francis looks on September 26, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Pope Francis wraps up his trip to the United States with two days in Philadelphia, attending the Festival of Families and meeting with prisoners at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

That worldwide success translated into more than 75 million albums sold.

She was also Whitney Houston’s honorary “Aunt Ree.”

Franklin got her first star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1979. She was a Kennedy Center honoree in December 1994.

Franklin was married twice (including to actor Glynn Turman) and had four sons.

Her father, a Detroit star in his own right — Pastor C.L. Franklin — was shot twice in a robbery attempt in 1979 and remained in a coma for five years. He died in 1984 at the age of 69, a week after being placed in a nursing home.

Her family, which is asking for privacy, says funeral arrangements will be announced in the coming days.


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