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Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, has died

Culled from CNN

Aretha Franklin, whose gospel-rooted singing and bluesy yet expansive delivery earned her the title "the Queen of Soul," has died, a family statement said Thursday. She was 76, CNN reported.

Franklin died at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit, surrounded by family and friends, according to a statement on behalf of Franklin's family from her longtime publicist Gwendolyn Quinn.

The "official cause of death was due to advance pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, which was confirmed by Franklin's oncologist, Dr. Philip Phillips of Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit," the family statement said.

Her death comes three days after a source close to Franklin told CNN's Don Lemon that the singer was in hospice care.

"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," Franklin's family said.

"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."

Funeral arrangements will be announced in the coming days, the statement said.

The singer had been reported to be in failing health for years and appeared frail in recent photos, but she kept her struggles private.

In February 2017, Franklin announced she would stop touring, but she continued to book concerts. Earlier this year, she canceled a pair of performances, including at the New Orleans Jazz Fest, on doctor's orders, according to Rolling Stone.

The singer's final public performance was last November, when she sang at an Elton John AIDS Foundation gala in New York.

Over the course of a professional career that spanned more than half a century, Franklin's songs not only topped the charts but became part of the vernacular.

She made "Respect," written by Otis Redding, a call to arms. "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," a Carole King song, was an earthy expression of sexuality. "Think," which she wrote with her then-husband, Ted White, became a rallying cry for women fed up with loutish men.

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The first woman admitted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, she had 88 Billboard chart hits during the rock era, tops among female vocalists. At the peak of her career -- from 1967 to 1975 -- she had more than two dozen Top 40 hits.

"Aretha Franklin is not only the definitive female soul singer of the Sixties," according to her Rolling Stone biography, "she's also one of the most influential and important voices in pop history."

She won 18 Grammy awards, including the honor for best female R&B performance for eight straight years.

My view: What a voice, RIP Aretha Franklin.