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‘Thank you, Aretha’: Fans, friends remember the ‘Queen of Soul’

Musicians, fans and friends of Aretha Franklin, the “Queen of Soul,” are honoring her legacy after news of her death Thursday.

Franklin’s publicist said she died at her home in Detroit, according to The Associated Press. She was 76.

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Fans are remembering Franklin’s singular presence, stage command and legendary performances.

>>Related: Aretha Franklin dies at 76

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Franklin’s family issued an official statement to The Hollywood Reporter:

“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. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins knew no bounds. 

“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.”

 

Family members confirmed Monday to WDIV-TV that Franklin, 76, was “gravely ill,” after a report from entertainment site Showbiz411 claimed she was being surrounded by friends and family in Detroit.

>>Photos: Aretha Franklin through the years

Franklin canceled several concerts this year due to health issues, Fox13Memphis reported. According to The Associated Press, “she was ordered by her doctor to stay off the road and rest up.”

She performed in her hometown of Detroit in June 2017, the Detroit Free Press reported. She ended the concert with an appeal for those in the crown to, “Please keep me in your prayers,” according to the newspaper.

She last performed in November at Elton John’s AIDS Foundation gala in New York City, the News reported.

>>Related: The best Aretha Franklin songs: A timeline

Franklin was born March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tennessee. Her family moved to Detroit when she was young, according to Fox13Memphis.

Franklin started singing when she was young, with encouragement from her mother, Barbara, and her father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin. She started out singing gospel but launched a career in secular music after she turned 18. She rose to fame after signing in 1967 with Atlantic Records.

Franklin’s career, spanning six decades, has spawned hits including “Respect,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and “Chain of Fools.” She’s considered one of the best-selling artists of all time, selling more than 75 million albums worldwide.

Franklin was inducted in 1987 to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. She’s earned 18 Grammy Awards and a Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work. In 2005, then-President George W. Bush described Franklin as “a woman of achievement, deep character and a loving heart.”

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