Celebrities tweet love, condolences after Aretha Franklin dies in Detroit

Lula Sharp
August 16, 2018

In his controversial 2014 biography of Franklin, "Respect", noted writer David Ritz alleged the Queen of Soul was notorious on the entertainment circuit for cancelling concerts at the last minute, showing up late for performances and belittling contemporaries in the industry, as well as starting feuds with members of her own family. "In those early days [of the Civil Rights Movement, ] myself, Mr. Harry Belafonte and a young gospel singer with a terrific voice by the name of Queen Esther Marrow, did concerts with Dr. Martin Luther King", she told Maclean's in 2011. In 1987, she became the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 2008 she won her 18th Grammy Award, making her one of the most honoured artists in Grammy history. Her father was C.L. Franklin, a charismatic Baptist minister and Civil Rights activist. She had a memorable appearance in The Blues Brothers, sang the theme music for the sitcom A Different World, and scored her second #1 with "I Knew You Were Waiting For Me", a duet with George Michael. She may be best remembered for her vocal virtuosity and her chart-topping hits like "Respect" and "Chain of Fools", but she gave some extremely memorable performances at sporting events. John introduced her as "The greatest singer of all time". She also was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom - the nation's highest civilian honor - in 2005. She also performed at the inaugurations of Democratic party presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.

The cause was advanced pancreatic cancer.

Her final public performance was at the Mann Center in Philadelphia in August 2017. Her father, realizing his daughter's talents, made Aretha a part of his road shows, and her first gospel record, Songs of Faith, was released in 1956 with his encouragement.

They said in a statement: "For more than 50 years, she stirred our souls".

Franklin previously struggled with alcoholism, obesity and a heavy smoking habit. "The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds", her family said in a statement. Grateful we have decades of recordings that will live on. "Aretha Franklin, what a voice".

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Pop diva Mariah Carey tweeted: "Praying for the Queen of Soul". She sold more than 75 million records and tallied 112 Billboard-charting singles. She then married American actor Glynn Turman (1978-1984).

Franklin is survived by her four sons, Kecalf Cunningham, Ted White Jr., and Edward and Clarence Franklin. The label attempted to mould her into a pop singer.

She signed with Columbia records in 1960, releasing her first album "The Great Aretha Franklin".

A Hollywood movie about her rise to stardom is now in production, starring Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson.

Her personal life was a struggle, however.

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