Aretha Franklin, whose peerless singing and regal bearing earned her the name the Queen of Soul, died today (Thursday) at age 76. The second most prolific female winner in the history of the Grammy Awards underwent surgery in 2010, reportedly for pancreatic cancer, but then returned to action and made a number of public appearances in which the often obese diva seemed slimmed down and healthy. But by May 2013, unidentified health issues caused Franklin's doctors to have her cancel tour dates.
- Aretha was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1942 and began singing in church before recording her first gospel album at age 14.
- After 10 modestly successful albums, she shifted to R&B and became the Queen of Soul.
- Her six R&B chart-toppers included the 1967 pop number-one hit “Respect.” She hit the Top 20 on the pop chart two dozen times.
- Aretha won 18 Grammys over her career -- plus two honorary Grammys -- and was the first female solo artist inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
- She performed at the presidential inaugurations of Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
- Married and divorced twice, Franklin is survived by four sons. Kevin in the Morning!