Aretha Franklin, the preacher's daughter whose powerful voice made her the long-standing "Queen of Soul" with hit songs like "Respect" and "Chain of Fools", died on Thursday at the age of 76 years.
Franklin, who won 18 Grammys and had 25 gold records, died at his home in Detroit, surrounded by family and loved ones, according to his publicist. He had fought advanced pancreatic cancer and his relatives had asked for prayers.
By calling it one of the darkest moments of their lives, Franklin's family said they could not find the appropriate words to express the pain in their hearts  "We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love he had for his children, grandchildren, nephews and cousins had no limits, "his family said in a statement.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said that few people in the city's history had been universally loved or gone as an indelible mark like Franklin, describing it as an "unparalleled performer."
"In the course of her extraordinary life and career, she has gained the love – and yes, the respect – of millions of people, not only for herself and for women everywhere, but for the city she loved so much and call home, "said Mr. Duggan in a statement
. Franklin's father was a Baptist preacher in Detroit, and the song of the gospel he had heard in his church was its musical foundation. She created a unique, emotional and powerful voice that put her at the forefront of the soul music of the 60s along with Otis Redding, Sam Cooke and Wilson Pickett.
Franklin sang at the funeral of the civil rights leader killed Martin Luther King, as well as the presidential inaugurations of Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. In 1987 she became the first woman to vote in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and in 2010 Rolling Stone magazine named her the first singer of the rock era.
After recording and playing as a young gospel singer, Franklin's career took a century-old turn in 1961, when he signed with Columbia Records. He had only a modest success with Columbia, who had trouble classifying his style and tried to lead her to pop.
But when it switched to Atlantic Records in the mid-1960s, producer Jerry Wexler knew what to do with Franklin, putting his powerful voice in a setting that combined gospel, soul and rock and made her a superstar by letting "the lady moan". As Franklin put it in his autobiography, he "music" to the music.
Singer John Legend tweeted Thursday: "Salute to the Queen, the greatest singer I've ever known."
In a statement, former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Franklin was one of America's greatest national treasures.
"For more than 50 years, she has aroused our souls," said their statement. "He was elegant, graceful and absolutely uncompromising in his artistic talent."
String of hits
Franklin's golden period extended at the beginning of the 70s while dominating the music charts with "I Never Loved a Man" (The Way where I love you), & # 39; & # 39; Baby, I Love You, & # 39; & # 39; Chain of Fools, & # 39; & # 39; Think, & # 39; & # 39; (You Make Me Feel Like) A natural woman & # 39 ;, & # 39; Do-Right Woman & # 39; and & # 39; Respect & # 39 ;, a cover of a redding tune that became a song of empowerment during the civil rights era.
Franklin's popularity would fade but he woke up in the mid-1980s with songs like "Freeway of Love", a duet with George Michael titled "The Knew You" Were Waiting (For Me) & # 39 ;, & # 39; Sisters Are Doin & # 39; It for themelves & # 39 ;, & # 39; Who & # 39; s Zoomin & # 39; Who? & # 39; And a cover of the Rolling Stones & # 39; & # 39; Jumpin & # 39; Jack Flash & # 39 ;.
Along the way Franklin inspired a generation of singers.
"Pop music today is full of glorious gospel voices and female singers in the cast of Aretha," the late Wexler said in his autobiography. "… Aretha has become a model for people like Chaka Khan, Natalie Cole, Donna Summer, Whitney Houston … The list of her disciples is long."
Franklin was known to be shy, moody, imperious and difficult. She often did not go along with other singers, including her sisters, could be quick to shoot at her subordinates and was uneven when it came to performing for concerts and dates.
Franklin often demanded that he be paid in cash before performing and taking his status of musical sovereignty seriously. In 2008 Beyonce presented Tina Turner as "the queen" at the Grammy Awards ceremony, which Franklin described as "an economic blow"
Franklin was born on March 25, 1942 in Memphis, Tennessee , and grew up in Detroit. His father, Rev. C.L. Franklin was respected as a civil rights leader, an early supporter of "black pride" and a friend of the king.
Reverend Franklin was a charismatic character but had also been arrested for drug possession and, in unexplained circumstances, his wife left him and their five children when Aretha was six. Four years later, Franklin's mother died and Aretha avoided public speaking of her parents.
Franklin began touring as part of a gospel show of his teenage father and received a musical education from the gospel greats – Staple Singers, The Soul Stirrers, James Cleveland and The Mighty Clouds of Joy.
He also knew great jazz and R & B invited artists in the family home – Cooke, Art Tatum, Dinah Washington, Fats Domino and Bobby Bland.
At the age of 17 he had given birth to two children and later had two more sons. First married to Ted White, who became her manager and publicly abused her, Franklin later married the actor Glynn Turman in 1978 but divorced in 1984.
Franklin, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005, was the subject of a tribute to the February 2011 Grammy Awards ceremony and a tribute concert at Carnegie Hall in early 2017. He did not even take part in
Franklin did not play regularly for many years, in part because of the aversion to flying after a difficult journey in 1982 Instead, he traveled in a personalized bus. He often had to cancel the shows due to health reasons.
In February 2017, he said he would continue to record but retired from the tour after a limited series of concerts marking a new album that year, & # 39; A Brand New Me & # 39 ;, which saw he performed some of his greatest hits with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
She played "Natural Woman" at the Kennedy Center Honors in December 2015 in a tribute to the songwriter Carole King, who wrote the song. His last live performance was on 7 November 2017 for the Elton John AIDS Foundation gala.
"I feel very, very enriched and satisfied about where my career came from and where it is now," Franklin told Detroit in 2017 a TV interviewer. "I'll be pretty satisfied, but I'm not going anywhere. it is enough to sit down and do nothing, and this would not be good either. "
President George W. Bush presented Franklin the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.