Aretha Franklin, the multiple Grammy award-winning singer whose career spanned seven decades, has died aged 76.
The Queen of Soul - best known for hits such as Respect, Think and I Say a Little Prayer - passed away in Detroit on Thursday after battling ill health for several years.
The cause of her death was advanced pancreatic cancer, her publicist Gwendolyn Quinn said. Funeral arrangements will be announced in the coming days.
Franklin's family said in a statement they had lost their "matriarch and rock", adding: "We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and fans all around the world. Thank you for your compassion and prayers."
Diagnosed with cancer in 2010, Franklin was forced to cancel a handful of concerts earlier this year due to ill health and was ordered by doctors to rest for two months.
In February last year, the singer announced plans to retire from touring following the release of a new album.
She last performed in November 2017 for the Elton John Aids Foundation in New York and her final "miraculous" public concert was in Philadelphia in August 2017.
Franklin - and her distinctive, powerful voice - rose to fame in the 1960s after starting out as a gospel singer, going on to achieve massive global success with memorable soul hits.
She sold more than 75 million records worldwide and accumulated 18 Grammy awards, including one for Lifetime Achievement. She was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
Franklin died on August 16 - the same day of the year as Elvis Presley died in 1977 - at her home in Detroit, Michigan, surrounded by her family and friends.
'We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family'
A statement from Franklin's family, via the singer's long-time publicist Gwendolyn Quinn, said it is "with deep and profound sadness that we announce the passing of Aretha Louise Franklin, the Queen of Soul".
The statement continued: "Franklin, 76 years old, passed away on Thursday morning, August 16 at 9.50am at her home in Detroit, MI (Michigan), surrounded by family and loved ones.
"Franklin's official cause of death was due to advance pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, which was confirmed by Franklin's oncologist, Dr Philip Phillips of Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, MI."
It added: "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."
"We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and fans all around the world. Thank you for your compassion and prayers. We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time."
Quinn added that "funeral arrangements will be announced in the coming days".
'Her voice will soar on forever': Tributes pour in
Sir Elton John led the tributes to Aretha Franklin, with whom he shared a birthday.
Praising her "music from the heart", he said on Instagram that the "whole world will rejoice in her remarkable legacy".
Singer Annie Lennox, who duetted with Franklin on the 1985 hit Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves, posted a lengthy tribute on Instagram, describing her as "simply peerless" and insisting "her voice will soar on forever".
Singer Barbra Streisand shared a picture of herself with Franklin taken six years ago as she paid tribute to the Queen of Soul.
President Donald Trump said Franklin's voice was a "gift from God" in a tribute on Twitter.
The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, is dead. She was a great woman, with a wonderful gift from God, her voice. She will be missed!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 16, 2018
Bill and Hilary Clinton described how the singer "for more than 50 years, stirred our souls" and the former Democrat leader, who lost out to Trump in the 2016 election, tweeted a personal tribute to her "friend".
Mourning the loss today of @ArethaFranklin who shared her spirit and talent with the world. She deserves not only our RESPECT but also our lasting gratitude for opening our eyes, ears and hearts. Rest in eternal peace, my friend.— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 16, 2018
Barack Obama was famously moved to tears by Franklin's performance of (You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2015.
In a statement, he said: "America has no royalty. But we do have a chance to earn something more enduring.
"Born in Memphis and raised in Detroit, Aretha Franklin grew up performing gospel songs in her father's congregation.
"For more than six decades since, every time she sang, we were all graced with a glimpse of the divine.
"Through her compositions and unmatched musicianship, Aretha helped define the American experience.
"In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade - our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-worn respect.
Final video of Aretha Franklin? Granddaughter shares moving footage
"She helped us feel more connected to each other, more helpful, more human. And sometimes she helped us just forget about everything else and dance.
"Aretha may have passed on to a better place, but the gift of her music remains to inspire us all.
"May the Queen of Soul rest in eternal peace.
"Michelle and I send our prayers and warmest sympathies to her family and all those moved by her song."
Adele expressed her sadness, saying she could not remember a day where Franklin's voice did not "fill her heart with so much joy and sadness".
Oprah Winfrey tweeted simply: "We'll miss you, Queen."
Singer-songwriter Bette Midler also paid tribute to Franklin, who she described as a "musical lighthouse".
The greatest voice in American popular music has been stilled. Our beloved #ArethaFranklin has gone. For me, she was a musical lighthouse, guiding and inspiring with every note. I loved her so and love her still. Goodbye, Queen of Soul.— Bette Midler (@BetteMidler) August 16, 2018
Carole King, who wrote arguably one of Franklin's biggest hits (You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman simply tweeted a link to the Queen of Soul performing her record along with a short tribute.
The Beatles stars Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Ringo Starr both took to Twitter to post their tributes to the Queen of Soul.
Let’s all take a moment to give thanks for the beautiful life of Aretha Franklin, the Queen of our souls, who inspired us all for many many years. She will be missed but the memory of her greatness as a musician and a fine human being will live with us forever. Love Paul pic.twitter.com/jW4Gpwfdts— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) August 16, 2018
God bless Aretha Franklin the queen of soul and peace and love to her family ��✌️��������☮️— #RingoStarr (@ringostarrmusic) August 16, 2018
Sir Mick Jagger said in a statement : "Very sad to hear the news about Aretha, she was so inspiring and wherever you were she always brought you to church," while Christina Aguilera thanked Franklin for "the gift" of her voice.
Singer Christina Aguilera tweeted: "Aretha was such a timeless inspiration to me and so many others, the ultimate queen, thank you for the gift of your voice, music and unshakeable soul".
Aretha was such a timeless inspiration to me and so many others, the ultimate queen, thank you for the gift of your voice, music and unshakeable soul ���� pic.twitter.com/me3FXBY4WZ— Christina Aguilera (@xtina) August 16, 2018
Music boss Clive Davis, who is credited with reviving Franklin's career in the 80s, posted a series of tweets about the "national treasure".
I’m absolutely devastated by Aretha’s passing. She was truly one of a kind. She was more than the Queen of Soul. She was a national treasure to be cherished by every generation throughout the world. (1/2)— Clive Davis (@CliveDavis) August 16, 2018
Apart from our long professional relationship, Aretha was my friend. Her loss is deeply profound and my heart is full of sadness. (2/2)— Clive Davis (@CliveDavis) August 16, 2018
Singer Paloma Faith wrote on Instagram that Franklin would be "forever in our memories".
Nasa also paid tribute to the legendary performer by naming an asteroid after her.
We’re saddened by the loss of Aretha Franklin. Asteroid 249516 Aretha, found by our NEOWISE mission and named after the singer to commemorate the #QueenOfSoul, will keep orbiting beyond Mars. See more details: https://t.co/NlW4vkmKDqpic.twitter.com/yZ0E5ofSQT— NASA (@NASA) August 16, 2018
First woman in Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Franklin's hits include (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman (1968), Day Dreaming (1972), Jump to It (1982), Freeway of Love (1985) and A Rose Is Still A Rose (1998).
In 1987, she became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
I Knew You Were Waiting for Me - a duet she sang with the late singer George Michael - was one of her Grammy-winning hits.
Video: Aretha Franklin moves Barack Obama to tears with 2015 performance
In 2005, Franklin was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom - the highest award for an American civilian - by then-president George W Bush.
And in January 2009 Franklin sang at Barack Obama's presidential inauguration.
Preacher's daughter born in Memphis
The star was born Aretha Louise Franklin in Memphis, Tennessee on March 25 1942 to travelling Baptist preacher Clarence LaVaughn "CL" Franklin and mother Barbara, an accomplished singer and pianist.
Franklin's family relocated to Detroit, Michigan while she was still an infant.
Her father led the city's New Bethel Baptist Church, which became a centre for the civil rights movement.
Following her parents' separation, Franklin's mother moved to Buffalo in New York but she would frequently visit her children in Detroit. Barbara died weeks before Franklin's 10th birthday.
At age 12 Franklin had the first of her four sons, Clarence, named after her father, and her second child Edward followed two years later.
Franklin's father became famous for his emotionally charged sermons, becoming known as "the man with the million-dollar voice".
Musical career started early in life
Franklin's childhood home was frequented by celebrities including civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr and singer Sam Cooke, while gospel singer Mahalia Jackson helped to take care of Franklin and her siblings following her mother's death.
Franklin's love and knack for all things musical started early on in her life, when she learned how to play the piano by ear and singing in church.
Her father became her manager and she joined him on his tours of churches across the country.
She released her first studio album, Songs Of Faith, in 1956 when she was 14 years old.
At the age of 18, Franklin told her father she wanted to start singing and recording pop music.
She was signed by Columbia who released her first single on the label Today I Sing The Blues in 1960.
Signature song became civil rights anthem
Her first single to land on America's main industry chart came the following year with Won't Be Long, but it was in the latter half of the decade that Franklin's commercial success really soared.
Franklin opted to move to Atlantic Records from Columbia in 1966 and the following year she scored her first top 10 hit with I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You).
Her album of the same name also featured her signature number, a rendition of Otis Redding's Respect, which topped the chart.
The song became widely considered as a feminist and civil rights anthem, and today still remains one of her most beloved songs.
The singer had a string of popular hits in the late 1960s including (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, Chain Of Fools, Baby I Love You, and her version of I Say A Little Prayer by Dionne Warwick.
In June 1968, she appeared on the cover of Time magazine and earned the first of her 18 Grammy awards for Respect. She would be recognised at the Grammys with a lifetime achievement award in 1994.
Illness affected singing career over last decade
Franklin had cancelled concerts in 2010 while recovering from surgery that removed a tumour and, Franklin said, would "add 15 to 20 years to her life".
However, illness had affected her performing career over the past decade, with shows cancelled in 2013.
Franklin said in August of that year that she had undergone a "miraculous" recovery, but continued to drop out of shows.
Franklin's most recent performance was in November last year, for the Elton John AIDS Foundation in New York, and she gave her last public performance a year ago in Philadelphia.
A reviewer wrote of her performance: "Regardless of advancing years and medical setbacks, Franklin seemed largely undiminished in voice or spirit, even if her exclamations sometimes soared past the limits of her breath.”
A former chain smoker who suffered from bouts of alcoholism, Franklin had also spoken about her "ballooning" weight and subsequent weight loss.