Legendary singer Aretha Franklin, who got the epithet 'Queen of Soul', died on Thursday after battling serious health conditions. She was 76. Franklin died at 9:50 a.m. at her home here, surrounded by family and friends, according to a statement on behalf of Franklin's family from her longtime publicist Gwendolyn Quinn, reported CNN. The "official cause of death was due to advance pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type", the family statement said.
"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.
"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. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time."
Funeral arrangements will be announced in the coming days, the statement said, according to CNN. Franklin released her first album, Songs of Faith, in 1956, scoring regional hits with two gospel songs and occasionally touring with The Soul Stirrers, whose star was Sam Cooke. In a professional career that spanned more than half a century, Franklin's songs were not just chart-toppers but also gave out a message. As the first woman admitted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, she had 88 Billboard chart hits during the rock era, the top among female vocalists. At the peak of her career -- from 1967 to 1975 -- she had more than two dozen Top 40 hits.
From singers to actors to leaders, Hollywood celebrities from all segments condoled the demise of the legendary singer Aretha Franklin, who died at 76 after battling serious health conditions.
Elton John: The loss of Aretha Franklin is a blow for everybody who loves real music: Music from the heart, the soul and the church. Recalling her last performance, John said: "I was fortunate enough to spend time with her and witness her last performance. She was obviously unwell, and I wasn't sure she could perform. But Aretha did and she raised the roof. She sang and played magnificently, and we all wept."
Lady Gaga said: "What beautiful music and vocal artistry you gave to the world. You are a legend and your soul will never be forgotten. Rest in peace angel of music, Aretha Franklin."
Ellen DeGeneres said, "Her music has played in our audience for 15 years. My heart goes out to her family. Respect, 'Queen of soul'."
Actor Hugh Jackman said: "One of the highlights of my career was singing with Aretha Franklin at The Tony Awards. It was an out of body experience for me. One of the greatest singers of all time. You will be missed by all."
"We'll miss you, Queen," wrote Oprah Winfrey.