Aretha Franklin Dies at 76

Posed portrait of Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin poses for

In her key scene, Franklin (as Mrs. Murphy) sings iconic soul classic "Think" to her husband Matt "Guitar' Murphy in the middle of their restaurant when Jake and Elwood try and recruit him to their band".

Her family confirmed her death had been due to advanced pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type. "We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family", a family statement read.

The statement continued: "Thank you for your compassion and prayers". "There were times that we were asked to go to the back of the restaurant - say - or we couldn't use the bathrooms".

Funeral arrangements will be announced in the coming days.

In 2005, Franklin was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom - the highest award for an American civilian - by then-president George W. Bush.

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Bernice King, the youngest daughter of Martin Luther King Jr, said on Twitter that beyond having a "tremendous singing voice", Franklin was a "voice of the Civil Rights Movement" and an "instrument". I was fortunate enough to spend time with her and witness her last performance - a benefit for the Elton John Aids Foundation at St John The Divine Cathedral. "Long live the Queen of Soul through her extraordinary & singular voice and her indelible music".

Paul McCartney said: "Let's all take a moment to give thanks for the handsome life of Aretha Franklin, the Queen of our souls, who inspired us all for many many years". Her gifts, natural and acquired, were a multi-octave mezzo-soprano, gospel passion and training worthy of a preacher's daughter, taste sophisticated and eccentric, and the courage to channel private pain into liberating song.

One of the defining moments of her career came when she was invited to perform at President Barack Obama's inaugural ceremony in 2009, where she moved fans with her rendition of "My Country 'Tis of Thee".

Aretha Franklin spelled it out for everyone everywhere - a song that was for the times, but one that remained as timeless as ever. She sang and played magnificently, and we all wept. I'll always be grateful for her kindness and support, including her performances at both my inaugural celebrations, and for the chance to be there for what sadly turned out to be her final performance last November at a benefit supporting the fight against HIV/AIDS. He said the two have talked about her health over the years and said she is "a remarkable woman". Aretha's first music school was the church and her performances were powered by what she learned there. She, too, shared a picture she had taken with Franklin herself. Franklin's voice is as magical as it is powerful, and her talent is unmatched.

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