Aretha Franklin died Aug. 16, 2018. She was 76 years old. The Queen of Soul’s rep confirmed her passing to the Associated Press. Franklin’s family issued a statement acknowledging that she passed away from pancreatic cancer, which she had previously denied battling in an interview with Jet (via People).
The severity of her then-undisclosed illness wasn’t revealed until just a week before she died. Franklin was a musical legend, honored as Rolling Stone’s greatest singer of all time. She had 18 Grammys (and 44 nominations) and was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
She was also a key figure in the Civil Rights Movement, with her songs “Think” and “Respect” becoming unofficial anthems for equality. Franklin even performed at Martin Luther King Jr.’s memorial service following his assassination.
“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. 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,” Franklin’s family said in a statement.
“We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and fans all around the world. Thank you for your compassion and prayers. We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on.”