Publicist Gwendolyn Quinn tells The Associated Press through a family statement that Franklin passed Thursday at 9:50 a.m.at her home in Detroit.
Earlier this week the news broke that she was seriously ill and was being surrounded by loved ones. Following a tribute to the Queen of Soul at his annual pre-Grammys bash in January 2018, Clive Davis announced that Hudson was Franklin's choice to portray her on the big screen.
Franklin's prolific career spanned six decades and included hit songs like "Respect", "A Natural Woman" and "I Say a Little Prayer".
"Franklin's classic hits include "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman", "Chain Of Fools", "Think", and "Respect".
Aretha was previously diagnosed with cancer in 2010, later confirming she had had a tumour removed. Add Aretha Franklin as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Aretha Franklin news, video, and analysis from ABC News.
A new generation of singers came to see Franklin as an elder stateswoman of music.
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Franklin was the recipient of numerous honors including 18 Grammy Awards. Her subsequent marriage to actor Glynn Turman ended in divorce in 1984.
Before she was five, the family moved to Detroit where her father had been given the pastorship of a church.
In the 1980s Aretha had left Atlantic, but she scored her first platinum-selling recorded in 1985 with her 33rd studio effort Who's Zoomin Who? "It's one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, lose the weight and the cigarettes", she told Jet in 2007. She signed on with Columbia Records and, in a few years, she would have her first Top Forty hit on American Radio. As a young singer, Franklin fluidly incorporated blues, jazz, and R&B into her music. "He threw his arms around me, and he was a wonderful man", said Aretha.
She also guest-starred as herself in a 1991 episode of Murphy Brown, in which she sang with Candice Bergen's titular journalist, who was a massive Franklin fan. Her cover of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" also rose to #47 on the charts in 2014.
"When I heard (she lip-synced) I just really cracked up", she said.
She was married twice - first to Theodore White, who she Wednesday in 1961 at the age of 19, but they split in 1986 after White was accused of domestic violence.
Last November, at the age of 75, she gave her final performance at a gala in NY in aid of the Elton John Aids Foundation.