Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, has died

Aretha Franklin, March 25, 1942 - August 16, 2018. CNN photo.

Aretha Franklin, whose gospel-rooted singing and bluesy yet expansive delivery earned her the title "the Queen of Soul," has died, a source close to the family said Thursday. She was 76.

Franklin died at her home surrounded by family and friends, the source said.

"America has no royalty," said former President and Mrs. Obama about Franklin's passing. "But we do have a chance to earn something more enduring. 

"Born in Memphis and raised in Detroit, Aretha Franklin grew up performing gospel songs in her father’s congregation.  For more than six decades since, every time she sang, we were all graced with a glimpse of the divine. Through her compositions and unmatched musicianship, Aretha helped define the American experience. In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade—our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect. She helped us feel more connected to each other, more hopeful, more human. And sometimes she helped us just forget about everything else and dance.
"Aretha may have passed on to a better place, but the gift of her music remains to inspire us all.  May the Queen of Soul rest in eternal peace.  Michelle and I send our prayers and warmest sympathies to her family and all those moved by her song."

Her death comes three days after a source close to Franklin told CNN's Don Lemon the singer was in hospice care.

Franklin had been reported to be in failing health for years and appeared frail in recent photos, but she kept her struggles private.

In February 2017, Franklin announced she would stop touring, but she continued to book concerts. Earlier this year, she canceled a pair of performances, including at the New Orleans Jazz Fest, on doctor's orders, according to Rolling Stone.

By Lisa Respers France, CNN,The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2018 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.
The Gayly 8/16/2018 @ 9:10 a.m. CST.