Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin dead at 76

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"I thought it was really amusing, but she did a handsome job with the pre-record".

She gave her final performance last November at a gala in NY held in aid of the Elton John Aids Foundation.

'We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on.

Franklin's performances were legendary, whether it was drawing a crowd to her father Rev. C.L. Franklin's church, paying tribute to close family friend Martin Luther King Jr. with "Precious Lord" at his funeral, stunning the 1998 Grammy crowd with her performance of "Nessun Dorma" while filling in for an ailing Luciano Pavarotti, upstaging her fellow divas on VH1's "Divas Live", singing "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" at President Barack Obama's 2009 inauguration and almost being upstaged by her hat, or giving props to her heir apparent Adele with her mashup of "Rolling in the Deep" and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" on "The Late Show with David Letterman".

Aretha Franklin, the undisputed "Queen of Soul" who sang with matchless style on such classics as "Think", "I Say a Little Prayer" and her signature song, "Respect", and stood as a cultural icon around the globe, has died.

Aretha was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1942 and was the fourth of five children. Her early music blended gospel and jazz. "And she just sounds so damn good".

The world she grew up in was one in which gospel singing took centre stage, and where the growing popularity of her father's driving sermons led to his mission being visited by various performers like Jackie Wilson and Sam Cooke. She subsequently canceled several appearances. Two decades years later she was back to pay tribute to Ahmet Ertegun, founder of Atlantic Records. Franklin's father raised her as a single parent. She died at 9:50 a.m.at her home in Detroit. Franklin has 44 Grammy nominations and 18 wins. In 1965, during a show, the M.C. gave her a crown and declared her the "Queen of Soul".

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

By 14, Franklin had released her first album, "Songs of Faith" and began touring on the gospel circuit until she became a teenage mother of two sons.

She married again in 1978, to actor Glynn Turman, but they also divorced six years later.

It was when she moved to Atlantic Records in 1966 that her career took off and she hit the number one spot with I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You).

Franklin appeared on the cover of TIME in 1968, with a story that commended the "fierce, gritty conviction" of her voice.

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