Aretha Franklin died Thursday at age 76. The second most prolific female winner in the history of the Grammy Awards underwent surgery in 2010, reportedly for pancreatic cancer, but then returned to action and made a number of public appearances but by May 2013, unidentified health issues caused Franklin's doctors to have her cancel tour dates.
Aretha was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1942 and began singing in church before recording her first gospel album at age 14.
Her six R&B chart-toppers included the 1967 pop number-one hit “Respect.” She also hit the Top 20 on the pop chart two dozen times, won 18 Grammys and two honorary Grammys during her career.
Franklin started the ’80s with a well-received performance in The Blues Brothers and parlayed her revitalized image into hits such as “Who’s Zoomin’ Who” and “Freeway of Love.” Two decades after her first chart-topper, she hit number-one for the second time with “I Knew You Were Waiting for Me,” a duet with George Michael. In 1987, she became the first solo female artist inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She didn’t attend the ceremony, however, due to her intense fear of flying -- a phobia that kept her off the road for much of her later life.
She performed at the presidential inaugurations of Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. In June 2017, Detroit renamed a portion of Madison Street as Aretha Franklin Way. Jennifer Hudson will reportedly play her in an upcoming bio-pic.
Married and divorced twice, Franklin is survived by four sons.