Music legend Aretha dies at 76

SOUL legend Aretha Franklin has died from cancer aged 76, it was confirmed today.

The Respect singer passed away at her home in Detroit after an eight-year battle with cancer.

Dubbed the Queen of Soul and considered one of the greatest voices ever, Aretha’s dazzling music career included classic songs (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman and I Say A Little Prayer.

Rolling Stone magazine named her the greatest singer of all time.

The mum-of-four died surrounded by loved ones in the town where she was born.

Earlier in the evening, family released a statement saying she was gravely ill at her home.

Aretha last performed in November 2017 at the Elton John AIDs Foundation concert in New York.

She battled exhaustion and dehydration to thrill crowds.

The music legend started singing in Baptist church as a little girl, where her father was minister.

Her powerful voice and soulful tone marked her out as a future star.

She was just 12 years old when she first fell pregnant with son Clarence, and then again aged 14, with son Edward.

The children’s father was school friend Donald Burk.

She launched a music career aged 18, but it was in 1967 when she signed with Atlantic Records that her star began to soar.

Merging gospel, soul and pop, her powerful vocals cemented her place in music history.

She performed other timeless classics such as Spanish Harlem, Chain of Fools, Rocksteady, Think and I Knew You Were Waiting, a 1987 duet with George Michael.

Aretha also made memorable appearances in The Blues Brothers movies.

The singer had battles with her health and weight throughout her life.

Aretha was diagnosed with an ‘unspecified illness’, widely reported to be pancreatic cancer, in 2010, forcing her to cancel a string of live shows.

She was twice married, first to Theodore “Ted” White aged 19.                                                      The pair separated in 1969 amid claims of domestic abuse towards her.

She then wed Peyton Place actor Glynn Turman in 1978 becoming step-mother to his three children.

They divorced in 1984.

Singer-actress Jennifer Hudson is set to play Aretha in an upcoming film of her rise to stardom.

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