Aretha Franklin, the undisputed Queen of Soul, died Thursday at the age of 76.
The famed singer-songwriter died in her Detroit home surrounded by family and close friends, according to WCVB-TV. The cause of Franklin’s death is not immediately clear, though her health had been declining in recent years.
Franklin, revered for songs like “Respect,” “Natural Woman” and “I Say a Little Prayer,” cancelled a series of concerts in 2017, citing health concerns. Her last public performance was on Nov. 7, when she sang in New York City for the Elton John AIDS Foundation Gala.
Aretha Franklin singing at President Obama's inauguration. RIP the Queen of Soul. pic.twitter.com/3PT9Kp9zit
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) August 16, 2018
The iconic entertainer’s death comes one day after more than 75 people gathered at her father’s former church at 5 a.m. Wednesday to pray for healing, according to the Detroit Free Press.
New Bethel Baptist Church, founded in 1932, was helmed by Franklin’s father, the late Rev. C. L. Franklin, for 33 years.
More than 10 ministers and deacons from local Detroit congregations joined in the vigil, where they spoke, prayed and sang.
“Father God,” the Rev. Ryan Johnson prayed, “we come this morning asking you to touch the Queen of Soul today. Lord, we ask you to touch her even right now. Lord, you know her because you blessed her right here in this church many years ago.”
He went on to say God “gifted her with the gift of song” and “allowed her to share her gift with this world.”
Over the course of Franklin’s lengthy career — which began in earnest at age 18, when she was signed by Columbia Records — the legendary American singer earned countless accolades, including 18 Grammys, as well as the National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Franklin is survived by her four sons, Ted White Jr., Clarence Franklin, Kecalf Cunningham and Edward Franklin.