Aug. 16, 2018 / 10:17 AM / Updated Aug. 16, 2018 at 5:25 PM
Legendary soul singer Aretha Franklin dies at 76
Aretha Franklin performs during Barack Obama's presidential inauguration ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on January 20, 2009. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Franklin performs in concert at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Fla., on March 16, 2010. File Photo by Michael Bush/UPI
Franklin performs with a choir during the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting ceremony on December 2, 2009 in New York City. File Photo by Monika Graff/UPI
Stevie Wonder gives Franklin a kiss as they arrive to participate in a news conference about pregame entertainment and the national anthem for Super Bowl XL on February 2, 2006, in Detroit. File Photo by Roger L. Wollenberg/UPI
Franklin performs at the Mizner Park Amphitheater in Boca Raton, Fla., on April 22, 2005. File Photo by Michael Bush/UPI
Franklin performs for guests after the presentation of Lane Bryant Spring/Summer 2001 lingerie apparel fashion show at Studio 54 in New York City on February 5, 2001. File Photo by Ezio Petersen/UPI
Franklin and Kelsey Grammer attend the U.S. Open Tennis Championships in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., on August 27, 2008. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
President George W. Bush awards Franklin with the Presidential Medal of Freedom during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House on November 9, 2005. File Photo by Roger L. Wollenberg/UPI
Franklin performs in Boca Raton, Fla., on May 28, 2004. File Photo by Michael Bush/UPI
Franklin and Aaron Neville perform the national anthem with Doctor John at the piano in the pregame show for Super Bowl XL on February 5, 2006. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI
Franklin performs live during the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City on March 12, 2007. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Franklin arrives for the Daytime Emmy Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on May 20, 2005. File Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/UPI
Franklin performs at the Pechanga Indian Reservation's Resort and Casino in Temecula, Calif., on February 2, 2008. File Photo by Roger Williams/UPI
Franklin, winner of 17 Grammy awards, arrives to be honored as the 2008 MusiCares Person of the Year at a special dinner and concert in Los Angeles on February 8, 2008. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
Franklin accepts the Vanguard Award at the NAACP Image Awards in Los Angeles on February 14, 2008. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
Franklin, who was a Kennedy Center Honoree in 1994, arrives on the red carpet of the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington on December 6, 2009. File Photo by Alexis C. Glenn/UPI
Franklin arrives at the 2010 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on June 13, 2010. File Photo by Joe Corrigan/UPI
Aretha Franklin performs at the the 56th Presidential Inauguration ceremony for Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States on the west steps of the Capitol on January 20, 2009. UPI/Pat Benic
Franklin performs during a concert at the Mann Center for Performing Arts in Philadelphia on July 27, 2010. File Photo by John Anderson/UPI
Franklin entertains the crowd as she preforms at the grand opening of the Peabody Opera House in St. Louis on October 1, 2011. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
Franklin (R) accepts applause as she finishes her performance with President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and Harry Johnson, president and CEO of the MLK National Memorial Project Fund (L) as they attend the dedication of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on the National Mall in Washington D.C., on October 16, 2011. File Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI
Franklin and Richard Gibbs arrive for the formal Artist's Dinner honoring the recipients of the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. on December 1, 2012. File Photo by Ron Sachs/UPI
Obama welcomes Franklin as she arrives to sing at the portrait unveiling ceremony for outgoing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder at The Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. on February 27, 2015. File Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI
Clive Davis and Franklin arrive for the formal Artist's Dinner honoring the recipients of the 38th Annual Kennedy Center Honors at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. on December 5, 2015. File Photo by Ron Sachs/UPI
Herbie Hancock (not pictured) and Franklin play at the International Jazz Day Concert on the South Lawn of the White House, in Washington, D.C., on April 29, 2016. Obama delivered remarks to introduce the event. File Photo by Aude Guerrucci/UPI
Franklin poses on the red carpet prior to the White House Correspondents Association Dinner in Washington, D.C., on April 30, 2016. File Photo by Molly Riley/UPI
Aug. 16 (UPI) --Aretha Franklin, the legendary Queen of Soul whose songs "Respect" and "Chain of Fools" topped the charts in the 1960s, died Thursday in Detroit, her publicist announced. She was 76.
Franklin died of an undisclosed illness for which she was hospitalized Monday. CBS News and NPR confirmed her death, citing publicist Gwendolyn Quinn.
Her death came after several health-related concert cancellations in recent years, including two March shows in New Jersey. Franklin's last live performance was Nov. 2 at the Elton John AIDS Foundation in New York City.
Aretha Louise Franklin was born March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tenn., to pastor and civil rights activist C.L. Franklin. The family moved to Detroit two years later, where she began singing gospel as a child at New Bethel Baptist Church.
Franklin began her professional career at age 14, recording with J.V.B. Records and Columbia Records. It wasn't until she signed with Atlantic Records in 1967, though, that she gained fame with "Respect," "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" and "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)," perhaps her most famous songs.
She produced more than 40 studio albums and about half a dozen live albums over the course of her more-than six decade career.
Franklin won 20 Grammy Awards, including the Legend Award in 1991, the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994 and the MusiCares Person of the Year in 2008. She was also honored with three American Music Awards, a Golden Globe, two MTV Video Music Awards and three NAACP Image Awards.
She has 73 songs on Billboard's Hot 100 list, including two No. 1 hits and 17 Top 10 hits.
Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., praised Franklin for her involvement in the civil rights movement during the 1960s, citing a performance she gave at the 1967 Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Atlanta.
"She was singing and she got happy and kept singing. And Dr. [Martin Luther King Jr.] asked someone to go over and tell Aretha, 'We got to close it out, it's getting late.' But she was feeling so good about being there to perform for Dr. King and the movement. That was the last performance that Dr. King witnessed of hers," Lewis told CNN.
Franklin grew up amid the civil-rights era, with her father serving as a surrogate for King and organizing the 1963 Detroit Walk to Freedom, the largest civil-rights demonstration at the time.
Her song "Respect" became a sort of anthem for the movement, Variety reported, but also was a symbol for feminists.
"As women, we do have it," Franklin told Elle in 2016. "We have the power. We are very resourceful. Women absolutely deserve respect. I think women and children and older people are the three least-respected groups in our society."
Among her fans were former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama, who invited her to sing at the White House on multiple occasions.
"Aretha helped define the American experience. In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade -- our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect. May the Queen of Soul rest in eternal peace," the former president said on Twitter.
She sang "My Country 'Tis of Thee" at Obama's 2009 inauguration in Washington, D.C., a performance she said she wasn't happy with.
"Mother Nature was not very kind to me. I'm going to deal with her when I get home. It, by no means, was my standard. I was not happy with it, but I just feel blessed because it could have been five above zero or five below zero like it is in Detroit," the Queen of Soul told CNN's Larry King. "I was still blessed to be able to pretty much just sing the melody, but I wasn't happy with it, of course."
A biopic starring Jennifer Hudson about Franklin's life is in the early phases, and is based on the singer's memoir Aretha: From These Roots.
She was married twice, from 1961-69 to Ted White and from 1978-84 to Glynn Turman. She was engaged to be married a third time to Willie Wilkerson but called it off in 2012.
Franklin is survived by four sons: Clarence Franklin, Edward Franklin, Ted White Jr. and Kecalf Cunningham.