Aretha Franklin Dead at 76: John Legend and More Stars Pay Tribute

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Mariah Carey tweeted: "Praying for the Queen of Soul", and Missy Elliott added: "My prayers are with Aretha Franklin & her family during this hard time".

It was a fitting moment, as well, as Franklin worked tirelessly over the years, fighting for civil rights, her cover of the hit "Respect" becoming an anthem for the movement in the 1960's and for women's rights. "She helped us feel more connected to each other, more hopeful, more human", the couple said.

After years of declining health, Aretha passed away at 9.50am Thursday surrounded by family and friends at her home in Detroit where she had been under hospice care.

The Queen of Soul's cause of death was advance pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type. "I'm just so sad that we had to lose her", Black said.

'We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on.

The statement concluded: "As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this hard time".

Funeral arrangements for the singer have not yet been announced.

Aretha became the first woman to ever be included in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, alongside the likes of Elvis Presley and The Beatles.

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"We hope you'll lift her up by listening and sharing her songs that have meant the most to you".

The following year, she was diagnosed with cancer, but later made a triumphant return to the stage in 2013, following surgery.

The singer told Larry King at the time that she couldn't properly articulate the feeling she had watching the first African-American president being sworn in.

Evans respected Franklin's approach to her work, and the way she managed to make a successful career for herself.

Aretha emerged in a gold dress and a fur coat, carrying her clutch bag on stage with her - a decision that was equal parts baffling and legendary.

"The Queen in Waiting: The Columbia Years 1960-1965" (2002): Highlights from her underrated jazz and big-band recordings before she became a national star. 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. Her passing is not only a tremendous personal loss for me, but for people all over the world who were touched by her incredible gift and remarkable spirit.

She stayed with Atlantic Records until 1979. Franklin won 18 Grammy awards. She described feeling moved when she watched Franklin perform at the 2008 inauguration of President Barack Obama.