Remembering the times Aretha Franklin blessed the sports world with her talent

Beyonce and Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin - the "Queen of Soul" who performed for multiple presidents and was one of the best-selling musicians of the 20th century - has died.

She died at her home in Detroit on Thursday, her publicist told AP news agency.

The soul legend, known as one of the greatest ever artists on Detroit's legendary Motown label, known for their unique and seamless blend of soul and pop, was reportedly surrounded by family and friends at the time of her death.

Doctors are said to have informed the 76 year old's family, "she could go at any time", and her sister-in-law Cendia Franklin told Radar Online the outlook is "not looking good".

The 18-time Grammy winner's most recent performance was in November 2017 at Elton John's AIDS Foundation's 25th anniversary gala in NY. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family.

Annie Lennox, who duetted with Franklin on The Eurythmics' 1985 hit Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves, posted a message on Instagram, wrote that she "was simply peerless". She also was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom - the nation's highest civilian honor - in 2005.

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Beyond Respect, her powerful cover of Otis Redding's tune that became her calling card, Franklin had a string of Top 40 singles, according to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. "Music changes, and I'm gonna change right along with it", she said in a prophetic interview over 40 years earlier. 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.

Memphis-born and Detroit-raised, Franklin grew up belting gospel in church, where her father was a renowned Baptist minister and her mentor was Mahalia Jackson. "She found success in 1967 when she signed with Atlanta Records and released songs like "Respect", "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" and "Think". She also performed at the inaugurations of Democratic party presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.

She was managed by Ted White, a man she married in 1961 at the age of 19 and had another child with three years later. She sang the anthem with Aaron Neville before Super Bowl 40 in 2006.

Ill health, however, forced her to cancel a March 25 concert to mark her 76th birthday. "But when I recorded it, it was pretty much a male-female kind of thing".

Amid decades of stardom, Franklin was conspicuously tight-lipped about her personal life. Her father, realizing his daughter's talents, made Aretha a part of his road shows, and her first gospel record, Songs of Faith, was released in 1956 with his encouragement.

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