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August 17, 2018

Remembering the Queen of Soul: 20 Fascinating Photos of Aretha Franklin When She Was Young in the 1960s

Aretha Franklin, universally acclaimed as the “Queen of Soul” and one of America’s greatest singers in any style, died on Thursday at her home in Detroit. She was 76. The cause was advanced pancreatic cancer, her publicist, Gwendolyn Quinn, 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.”

Not content with becoming the “Queen of Soul” in the late '60s, Aretha Franklin became the greatest popular singer in American history, an artist whose electrifying voice combined the purest elements of gospel, jazz and blues, leaving fans breathless and critics tripping over their words trying to describe it.

Yet like so many young superstars, she couldn't handle the fame. She drank heavily and acted erratically, canceling concerts and getting arrested for disorderly conduct. She lived out the lyrics of “Chain of Fools” with her marriage to Ted White, a pimp who financed Franklin's early career with prostitution profits and slapped Franklin around, according to the singer's producer, Otis Taylor.

David Ritz, her autobiographer, says Franklin insisted they present a fairy-tale version of her life because “idealizing her past was her way of hiding pain.”



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