Aretha Franklin, popularly known as the “Queen of Soul,” died Thursday of pancreatic cancer at the age of 76.
In a family statement given through publicist Gwendolyn Quinn, Franklin died on Thursday at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit.
According to the statement, “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.”
Earlier reports in the week stated that the “Respect” singer was in hospice care at home and had been ill for some time.
According to Rolling Stone magazine, Franklin canceled two scheduled appearances earlier this year on doctor’s orders.
Though Franklin had been battling health problems in recent years, she never revealed the cause of her ailments.
“I’m not one to go into my personal health things,” she told USA Today in a 2013 interview.
The type of tumor Franklin had is uncommon. It’s found in about 6% of pancreatic cases and is likely to grow more slowly. It may not cause any symptoms until it is advanced and is sometimes called an islet cell tumor. Islet cells produce hormones in the pancreas, including insulin.
She also had diabetes, which can raise the chances of pancreatic cancer in people who have it for more than 5 years. Franklin’s health matters led to series of death rumors in 2017. A false Twitter hashtag #RipArethaFranklin forced the singer to dismiss the rumors once again.
“I’m doing well generally, all test have come back good,” she wrote in an emailed statement to Us Weekly.
“I’ve lost a lot of weight due to side effects of medicine, it affects your weight … Thanxxxx for your concern,” she added.
Franklin won 18 Grammys, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and was the first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, during her long career. Rolling Stone magazine named her #1 of the 100 greatest singers of all time.
The health issues of the R&B’s singer started after she was hospitalized for several weeks in 2010, leading to rumors that she had pancreatic cancer. She denied that was true, telling Access Hollywood that she had severe pain in her side.
“The pain was so hard it almost brought me to my knees,” Franklin said. She said she eventually had surgery after going through some procedures.
Her doctor said the surgery would add 5 to 20 more years to her life, Franklin recalled.
She later revealed to then-CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien that she had a tumor in 2010, but did not say where it was located.
“Well, I had a tumor. And that was taken care of. It’s behind me. And thank God it’s behind me,” she said.
Franklin did talk about her struggles with weight and concerns about her health. According to her, she had been eating right, resting, and taking better care of herself. That had helped her lower her blood pressure, she said.