Soul singer Aretha Franklin has died after recently being hospitalised, her publicist has told AP.
She died at 9:50am local time at her home in Detroit, surrounded by friends and family. The official cause of death was due to advanced pancreatic cancer.
"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," her family said in a statement.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame acknowledges her as the first woman to be enshrined there, describing Franklin as a musician with full of passion, sophistication and command, "whose recordings remain anthems that defined soul music."
Franklin's last performance was in November 2017 at Elton John's AIDS Foundation in New York. Elton John described her death as a blow for everyone who loves real music. "Music from the heart, the soul and the Church. Her voice was unique, her piano playing underrated – she was one of my favourite pianists," he says with a heavy heart via Instagram.
He continues his heartfelt message saying, "I was fortunate enough to spend time with her and witness her last performance – a benefit for the Elton John AIDS Foundation at St John The Divine Cathedral. She was obviously unwell, and I wasn’t sure she could perform. But Aretha did and she raised the roof. She sang and played magnificently, and we all wept. We were witnessing the greatest soul artist of all time. I adored her and worshipped her talent. God bless her. My condolences to all her family and friends. We shared the same birthday – and that meant so much to me. The whole world will miss her but will always rejoice in her remarkable legacy. The Queen is dead. Long live the Queen. "
Carole King quoted Franklin's big hit "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman", tweeting "What a life. What a legacy! So much love, respect and gratitude."
Billy Joel, Joe Walsh, Axl Rose, Ringo Starr and many others have publicly shared their condolences with Franklin's family via social media.
Franklin’s father was a Baptist preacher in Detroit, and the gospel singing she heard in his church was her musical foundation. Her uniquely emotional and powerful voice would put her at the forefront of 1960s soul music along with Otis Redding, Sam Cooke and Wilson Pickett.
Franklin was active in the US civil rights movement and sang at the funeral of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr in 1968.
The Detroit native had her voice declared a Michigan "natural resource" and in 1987 became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
She performed at the presidential inaugurations of Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.
Rolling Stone magazine in 2010 named her the number one singer of the rock era.
She sang the hits 'Respect', '(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman' and 'Spanish Harlem'.