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.
The “official cause of death was due to advanced 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.
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Her death comes three days after a source close to Franklin told CNN’sDon 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.
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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.