'Queen of Soul' Aretha Franklin has died at 76

Rev. Jesse Jackson asks for prayers for Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin has been visited by several people close to her as she battles serious health concerns

Publicist Gwendolyn Quinn confirmed to the Associated Press that the renowned and internationally beloved singer died at her home in Detroit on Thursday morning due to advanced pancreatic cancer. She reportedly passed in her Detroit home, where she was surrounded by her friends and family.

'In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart, ' her family said in a statement. "We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family", her family said in a statement. Over the course of her career she won 18 Grammy Awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994.

It was after a move to Atlantic in 1966 she achieved wider success, with her first single with the new label, I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You), reaching number one on the R&B chart and the top ten in the USA pop chart.

Tributes immediately started pouring in from those who were lucky enough to know Franklin and those who admired and appreciated all that the legend did for the music industry. She created a uniquely emotional and powerful voice that put her at the forefront of 1960s soul music along with Otis Redding, Sam Cooke and Wilson Pickett.

The Queen of Soul has sung at the inaugurations of three American Presidents: Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

"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". She sang "Precious Lord", the same song she performed during King's memorial service in 1968.

She continued to adapt, endured and came back strong with a slightly different sound in the 1980s, starting with the Grammy-nominated and critically acclaimed album "Jump to It".

The undisputed "Queen of Soul" was the victor of 18 Grammy awards, the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and is one of the best-selling music artists of her time. He also knew gospel stars of that era including Marion Williams and Clara Ward. Her father was a preacher and her mother was a singer and piano player.

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"For more than 50 years, she stirred our souls", he said, adding that she was "elegant, graceful, and utterly uncompromising in her artistry".

'The greatest singer of all time.

However, the decade was not a bust by a long shot. Later in the year, she released her 42nd (!) studio album, A Brand New Me, which paired her archival vocal recordings with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. She was 76 years old. She had dealt with undisclosed health issues that kept her off stage in recent months.

With Obama, in particular, Franklin shared a special bond. She was an absolute joy to know, and in a way we all knew her. "And she just sounds so damn good".

But her childhood was not a happy one. Her performance was phenomenal, and so were her earrings.

Last year, the icon announced her plans to retire, saying she would perform at "some select things".

"Her music is literally the soundtrack of my life". By the time she was 14, Aretha had already given birth to two children: Clarence Franklin, 63, and Edward Franklin, 61. She could play instruments as well as sing, so for him, she was the music itself.

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