Aretha Franklin, the undisputed Queen of Soul and one of the original plus women in media (give or take, depending on her age, etc.) , died Thursday. She passed in home in Detroit, the Associated Press reports. She had been battling various undisclosed illnesses for years, and, in recent weeks, was receiving hospice care. Franklin was 76 and was surrounded by family and friends when she passed.
Because of her health decline, tons of prominent friends had paid her a visit recently, including Stevie Wonder and the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Beyoncé and Jay-Z dedicated their Monday concert in the Motor City to Franklin. “We love you,” Beyoncé said, adding a word of thanks for “the beautiful music.”
Over the course of an almost 70 year career, Franklin established herself as one of the most important artists in musical history, winning 18 Grammy Awards, selling more than 75 million records worldwide, becoming the first female performer to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and recording 112 charted singles on Billboard, thus setting the record for the most charted female artist in the trade magazine’s history.
Franklin’s other accolades during her lifetime included three American Music Awards, two MTV Video Music Awards, three NAACP Image Awards, one Golden Globe, a Presidential Medal of Freedom, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a Grammy Legend Award and Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, a Kennedy Center Honor, being named 2008’s MusiCares Person of the Year, and honorary degrees from Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Brown, and the Berklee College of Music. She performed at Martin Luther King’s memorial service and at the inaugurations of three presidents: Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.
Was it a coincidence that this diva looked incredible in purple? She was definitely BOLD. We’re so sad to see you go, today, Queen Arethra. We’re listening to your soulful music in our office, all day.