The Queen of Soul's commitment to civil rights was instilled by her father, Rev. C.L. Franklin, who also knew King and preached social justice from his pulpit at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit.
Franklin's performance over three nights at the storied San Francisco venue stands among the best live albums in American music, and includes a surprise duet with Ray Charles and her version of Otis Redding's "Respect", a song that became synonymous with her.
"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", Franklin's family said in a statement. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family, ' the family said.
Her legendary voice, striking soul and undeniable talent had staying power, as she continued to perform up until 2017. The whole world will miss her but will always rejoice in her remarkable legacy.
In 2010, she suffered serious health problems, but continued to perform until late a year ago, singing last in November 2017 for the Elton John AIDS Foundation in NY. Her death reverberated so deeply that an incredible array of people from around the world, from U.S. presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama to musicians Paul McCartney and Diana Ross, took to social media to pay tribute.
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Franklin drew much more notice for her performance at Obama's first inauguration in 2009, when he was sworn into office as the first black president and she sang My Country, 'Tis of Thee on the steps of the Capitol.
Singer and pianist Elton John called the loss of Franklin a "blow for everybody who loves real music". Her chart dominance with singles like "Natural Woman", "Baby I Love You", "Chain of Fools" and "I Say a Little Prayer" earned her the title Queen of Soul.
"Few people in the history of our city have been as universally loved or left as indelible a mark as Aretha", Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement. She could sing pop standards alongside Barbra Streisand, who was her label mate in the 1960s before she moved to Atlantic.
When the death of Aretha Franklin was announced on Thursday morning, one United States president paid tribute to a voice that offered "a glimpse of the divine", in which Americans could feel "our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect". For more than 50 years, she stirred our souls.
"I'm sitting in prayer for the wonderful golden spirit Aretha Franklin", wrote Diana Ross.
"She blew me away..." She sang the anthem with Aaron Neville before Super Bowl 40 in 2006. The one thing she lacked, though, was taste in material", jazz singer Carmen McCrae is quoted as saying in the 2014 biography "Respect: "The Life of Aretha Franklin" of one Vanguard show. Beyond her tremendous singing voice, she was a voice in the Civil Rights Movement.