RIP: Aretha Franklin (1942-2018) Aretha Franklin, "Queen of Soul," is dead at 76 https://www.cbsnews.com/news/aretha-franklin-queen-of-soul-is-dead-at-76/ Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, has died, her publicist confirmed to CBS News. She was 76 years old. Franklin's prolific career spanned six decades and included hit songs like "Respect," "A Natural Woman" and "I Say a Little Prayer." Even in her 70s, she was still performing. In 2015, her performance of "A Natural Woman" at the Kennedy Center Honors brought President Barack Obama to tears. Franklin, whose father was a Baptist preacher, was born in Memphis but grew up in Detroit, where she began singing in the church choir at an early age. By many accounts, the young prodigy learned to play piano by ear. By the age of 14, with her father's encouragement, Franklin started making records. Her early music blended gospel and jazz. By 1961, she made the transition into pop; between 1961 and 1969, she recorded 10 albums with Columbia Records. The singer's career took off when she recorded her 1967 hit "Respect," which won two Grammy Awards. The song was off her first platinum album, "I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You." She would go on to win 18 Grammy Awards in total and perform at three presidential inaugurations. Franklin was also the first woman to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.