Her publicist Gwendolyn Quinn told The Associated Press through a family statement that Franklin passed Thursday at 9:50am at her home in Detroit.
Aretha Franklin's family has been warned that the "gravely ill" star could die at any minute, according to a long-time friend.
Beyonce is clearly keen to patch things up with Franklin after they fell out after the 2008 Grammy Awards when Bey introduced Tina Turner as The Queen of Soul, only mentioning legendary Franklin in passing. The singer has penned numerous charting singles such as "Respect", "I Never Loved a Man", "Chain of Fools", "Baby I Love You", and "I Say a Little Prayer".
She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W Bush in 2005, when she was saluted for "capturing the hearts of millions of Americans".
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Aretha Franklin performs onstage at the Elton John AIDS Foundation Commemorates Its 25th Year And Honors Founder Sir Elton John During New York Fall Gala at Cathedral of St. John the Divine on November 7, 2017 in New York City.
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Franklin's brother Cecil, who became her manager after White, died of cancer in 1989, as did her sister Carolyn in 1988 - one of two sisters who regularly featured on her records. In March of 2018, she canceled a pair of scheduled concerts in due to what her management described as doctor's orders.
Franklin took heavy criticism for not attending Houston's funeral, at which she was scheduled to perform.
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She was signed by Columbia who released her first single on the label Today I Sing The Blues in 1960.
"I might be just 26, but I'm an old woman in disguise - 26 goin' on 65", she told the magazine shortly before ending her first marriage to Ted White.
Franklin leaves behind her four sons - Clarence, Edward, Teddy and Kecalf. However, Atlantic Records saw a different path, wanting Aretha to put her gospel training to work and let it rip. Her father, C.L. Franklin, was the church's minister.
At one point she had plans to marry longtime companion Willie Wilkerson, announcing an engagement in 1988, but she eventually called it off in 2012. As volatile waitress Mrs Murphy, she got to sing her classic anthem Think, as well as a few lines from Jailhouse Rock. "Music changes, and I'm gonna change right along with it", she said in a prophetic interview over 40 years earlier.
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By this point, Franklin had divorced her second husband, actor Glynn Turman, whom she married in 1978; moved from California back to Detroit to assist her father who was shot during a burglary in his home; and stopped flying (Franklin's infrequent tours after 1983 were conducted by bus).