Aretha Louise Franklin (March 25, 1942 – August 16, 2018) was an American singer and songwriter. Franklin began her career as a child singing gospel at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, where her father, C. L. Franklin, was minister. In 1960, at the age of 18, she embarked on a secular career, recording for Columbia Records but only achieving modest success. Following her signing to Atlantic Records in 1967, Franklin achieved commercial acclaim and success with songs such as “Respect”, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”, “Spanish Harlem” and “Think”. By the end of the 1960s she had gained the title “The Queen of Soul”.
Franklin has won a total of 18 Grammy Awards and is one of the best-selling musical artists of all time, having sold over 75 million records worldwide.
On August 13, 2018, Franklin was reported to be gravely ill at her home near Detroit. She was reported to be under hospice care and surrounded by friends and family. Stevie Wonder and Jesse Jackson, among others, had visited her.
On August 16, 2018, it was reported that Franklin had died at home in Detroit, aged 76. The cause was reported to be advanced pancreatic cancer.