The world is mourning the loss of legendary singer Aretha Franklin.
The Queen of Soul, who nabbed 18 Grammys for powerful anthems like “Respect,” and classic hits like “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” died in Detroit Thursday morning, surrounded by family and friends. She was 76.
Her publicist confirmed the sad news to the Associated Press.
In a statement, Franklin's family said, "“We are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our hearts. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and fans all around the world. Thank you for your compassion and prayers. We have felt the love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on.”
Franklin's most recent performance was in November at an event for Elton John’s AIDS Foundation.
Aretha reportedly chose Jennifer Hudson to portray her in a new biopic. Back in 2012, Franklin told us her top picks were Halle Berry, Audra MacDonald and Hudson.
In 2011, “Extra’s” AJ Calloway interviewed Aretha Franklin at a Candie’s Foundation event, where the legend recalled the time she performed for the royals, including the late Princess Diana, in 1982.
She certainly had a biopic-worthy career. Franklin shot to fame in the late ‘60s and went on to become one of the best-selling artists of all time.
Her celebrated albums include “I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You,” “Lady Soul” and “Amazing Grace.”
The singer received numerous accolades throughout her career. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, and received the Grammy Legend Award in 1991, and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994. She held an honorary degree from Harvard, and honorary doctorates from Princeton, Yale, Brown and other universities.
Four years ago, AJ spoke to Aretha Franklin at the BET Awards, where she was honored with the Musical Arts Award.
During their chat, Franklin offered advice to today's stars. Watch!
Franklin divorced twice and had four sons, Clarence, Edward, Ted and Kecalf.
Funeral arrangements are pending.