Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin dies aged 76

Aretha Franklin and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the late 1960s

The music legend began her career as a child, singing gospel at a church in her home state of MI. John introduced her as "The greatest singer of all time". "We just want to send love and prayers".

Franklin also received worldwide acclaim for her memorable 2006 Thanksgiving Day performance before the Lions played the Minnesota Vikings.

"I was talking to Smokey Robinson, my oldest best friend Smokey, talking about the fact that some doctors are not very well acquainted with faith healing", she told the AP. In 2010, she was forced to cancel to scheduled performances due to fractured ribs and abdominal pain.

The star only released a few albums over the past two decades, including "A Rose is Still a Rose, ' which featured songs by Sean 'Diddy" Combs, Lauryn Hill and other contemporary artists, and 'So Damn Happy, ' for which Franklin wrote the gratified title ballad. "But to me personally, Aretha Franklin was my dear, dear friend, my homegirl, and I loved her a lot", record executive Berry Gordy said in a statement Thursday.

It was a fitting moment, as well, as Franklin worked tirelessly over the years, fighting for civil rights, her cover of the hit "Respect" becoming an anthem for the movement in the 1960's and for women's rights. No matter how the music has changed over the years, she remained so relevant.

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Franklin was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in 1987 - a year before the Beatles were inducted.

Among her awards she counts 18 Grammy Awards in total.

Her best-known appearance with a president was in January 2009 when she sang at Obama's inauguration. President George W. Bush awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005. 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 was fortunate enough to spend time with her and witness her last performance - a benefit for the Elton John AIDS Foundation at St John The Divine Cathedral", he added.

Correction: This story has been corrected to clearly identify that Aretha Franklin performed at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s memorial service.

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