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Aretha Franklin's 72nd Birthday Celebration

Source: Gary Gershoff / Getty

Aretha Franklin, known for having one of the greatest voices in music history, and for hits like “Respect,” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” … died Thursday after a long battle with advanced pancreatic cancer.

Aretha passed away in her Detroit home where she was under hospice care. She’d been in failing health for many months and she was down to 86 pounds. One source told us he was informed more than a week ago that Aretha could go at any time.

She was surrounded by friends and family when she passed. Her family released a statement, saying, “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.”

She had appeared incredibly frail in recent years, and rarely performed live. Her most recent appearance was last November for Elton John‘s AMFAR event.

Aretha’s career is just incredible. Born in Memphis in 1942, her family eventually relocated to Detroit where she began singing in her father’s church. She was such a powerhouse gospel singer, she landed a Columbia record deal in the early ’60s.

Her string of chart-topping hits began with her Atlantic Records deal in 1967.

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RIP: Aretha Franklin Queen Of Soul Dead At 76  was originally published on zhiphopcleveland.com

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