Aretha Franklin critically ill. She is in hospice care at home surrounded by her family. Wellwishers have been sending love and prayers since the news broke.
The Queen of Soul has been plagued by deteriorating health for some time now and appeared frail in recent photos. She announced that she is halting all travelling events and touring in 2017, even though she continued to book local concerts.
Franklin’s career spans six decades. She got her start singing gospel music in a Detroit church where her father was the minister. In 1960, she signed with her first major record label. By 1968, Franklin was an established soul chart-topper with hits like “Respect,” “Chain of Fools” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.”
That same year she was tapped to sing at the memorial service of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. where she performed a stirring rendition of “Precious Lord, Take My Hand.”
Franklin was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in 1987 — a year before the Beatles were inducted. In 1994, at age 52, she became the youngest at that time to receive a Kennedy Center Honor.
Franklin has 44 Grammy nominations and 18 wins. She has performed at the inaugurations of three presidents: Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. President George W. Bush awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.