Just a few days after Aretha Franklin’s family and publicist confirmed the soul-breaking news that she was getting ready to travel to the heavens to fill the ears of the angels with her legendary voice and legendary charisma (and legendary shade skills), her publicist says she died at her home from advanced pancreatic cancer in Detroit last night.
Aretha was surrounded by her friends and family at the time. She was 76.
To say that Queen Aretha’s contributions to music and culture were enormous is as big of an understatement as saying that Queen Aretha was just okay at shade. There’s a billion and one obits about Queen Aretha out there, so I won’t write a full one here, but it’d be illegal for me not to mention how she changed music by perfectly infusing gospel and R&B with pop, won 18 Grammys (as well as a Grammy Living Legend honor), was the first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005, and is one of the best-selling music artists of all-time. Aretha, who dropped out of high school, got honorary doctorate degrees from Berklee College of Music, Yale University, and Harvard. And Queen Aretha accomplished all of that, and much more, after going through a hard childhood and having two children by the time she was 14.
Somebody should really get ice packs for the angels who work the front gates of heaven, because I’m sure they fell back after Queen Aretha strolled on through like this:
RIP Queen. I Say A Little Prayer For You, Forever and ever.