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'Queen of Soul' Aretha Franklin dies aged 76

LEGEND: Aretha Franklin has died

ARETHA FRANKLIN has died at the age of 76.

The legendary soul singer had been gravely ill recently and today her publicist confirmed that she had passed away surrounded by loved ones at her home in Detroit.

Franklin had suffered from ill health for a number of years. In 2010 she was diagnosed with a tumour. Her death was caused by advanced pancreatic cancer.

In a statement, her family said: "It is with deep and profound sadness that we announce the passing of Aretha Louise Franklin, the Queen of Soul.

"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. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds."

The great American songstress was still performing up until recently and had been set to make appearances at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Fest in April but pulled out on the advice of her doctor.

The Respect and Say a Little Prayer singer inspired countless musicians, singers and songwriters.

She last performed at the 25th anniversary gala for the Elton John Aids Foundation in November 2017.

Elton John is among those paying their respects to the singer whose voice captured hearts around the world.

He said: "The whole world will miss her but will always rejoice in her remarkable legacy. The Queen is dead. Long live the Queen. RIP Aretha Franklin."

Franklin’s incredible voice earned her the title “The Queen of Soul”. She sold over 75 million records during her career and was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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