Aretha Franklin, the “queen of soul” known for hits like Respect and Think, has died in Detroit at the age of 76.
The legendary singer was diagnosed with cancer in 2010 and announced last year she was retiring from music.
Franklin had more than 20 US chart hits over a music career spanning seven decades.
The star gave her final performance last November at a gala in New York held in aid of the Elton John Aids Foundation.
In a statement, her family 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.”
The family also confirmed her death was due to advanced pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type.
Aretha Franklin is “gravely ill,” her family told Detroit’s WDIV-TV on Monday.
WDIV anchor Evrod Cassimy wrote in a tweet: “I spoke with her family members this morning. She is asking for your prayers at this time.”
This follows an earlier report from Roger Friedman’s Showbiz 411, saying that the 76-year-old soul legend is surrounded by “family and people close to her” in Detroit.
In March, Franklin canceled two concerts scheduled in New Jersey. According to a statement from her management team, she was following doctors’ orders to stay off the road and rest completely for two months, and that she was “extremely disappointed she cannot perform as she had expected and hoped to.”
Franklin’s most recent performance was on Nov. 2, 2017, for the Elton John AIDS Foundation in New York and her final public performance was at Philadelphia’s Mann Center in August 2017.
Franklin last performed in her Detroit hometown in June 2017. It was an emotion-packed concert for thousands at an outdoor festival downtown. She ended the performance with a then-cryptic appeal to the hometown crowd: “Please keep me in your prayers.”
Last year, Franklin announced her plans to retire after releasing one final album, saying she would perform at “some select things.”
A biopic starring Jennifer Hudson as Franklin is scheduled to start filming in 2019.