Aretha Franklin, the legendary Queen of Soul is dead.
She died on Thursday at her home in Detroit at the age of 76, eight years after she was diagnosed with cancer.
Franklin had more than 20 US number ones over a career spanning seven decades.
She gave her final performance last November at a gala in New York held in aid of the Elton John Aids Foundation.
In a statement, her family said: "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."
The family also confirmed her death was due to advanced pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type.
Franklin’s 60-plus-year career was one of broken boundaries and broken records. She held the record for the most-charted female artist in Billboard history for nearly 40 years, with 73 titles in the Hot 100. (Nicki Minaj surpassed the record last year.)
Her first Hot 100 song, “Won’t Be Long,” debuted when Franklin was just 18 years old in 1961. She also racked up 18 Grammy Awards over the course of her career, and in 1987, she was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
And while Franklin is known for her work as a soul singer, her astonishing, powerful, intelligent voice — the voice that the state of Michigan declared to be a natural resource — can do almost anything. When Luciano Pavarotti bailed on his 1998 Grammys performance at the last minute, Franklin subbed in and sang “Nessun Dorma” for him. She had 20 minutes’ notice.
“What distinguishes her is not merely the breadth of her catalogue or the cataract force of her vocal instrument,” wrote David Remnick in the New Yorker in 2016; “it’s her musical intelligence, her way of singing behind the beat, of spraying a wash of notes over a single word or syllable, of constructing, moment by moment, the emotional power of a three-minute song. ‘Respect’ is as precise an artifact as a Ming vase.”