The music icon passed away at 9:50 a.m.at her home in Detroit, surrounded by family and friends, according to her longtime publicist Gwendolyn Quinn. "We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family", Franklin's family said in a statement.
The statement concluded: "As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this hard time".
Funeral arrangements will be announced in the coming days.
As the first woman admitted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, she had 88 Billboard chart hits during the rock era, the top among female vocalists.
A memorial tribute is posted on the Apollo Theater marquee in memory of singer Aretha Franklin in Manhattan, New York, U.S., August 16, 2018.
"At Atlantic, Franklin began releasing a ridiculous barrage of hit singles, including "I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)", "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man", "Baby I Love You", and "(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman".
The soul singer has been dogged by reports of failing health for years and appeared frail in recent photos, but she has kept her struggles private. In 2010, she was forced to cancel to scheduled performances due to fractured ribs and abdominal pain.
Fittingly, admirers of the legendary crooner gave her monument the royal treatment, adorning Aretha's star with a crown and bouquets lovely flowers.
The child's father was her school friend, Donald Burk. By the time she was 14-years-old, she had laid down her first recordings as a gospel artist, and not long after, inked her first record deal with Columbia.
"I thought it was really amusing, but she did a lovely job with the pre-record". Her passing is not only a tremendous personal loss for me, but for people all over the world who were touched by her incredible gift and remarkable spirit.
"I would hear stories about how Franklin managed her business, making sure she was treated well and paid", Evans said.
One of the defining moments of her career came when she was invited to perform at President Barack Obama's inaugural ceremony in 2009, where she moved fans with her rendition of "My Country 'Tis of Thee".
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