Aretha Franklin Dead at 76: Preacher's Daughter Credited God for Her Gift

Iconic soul singer Aretha Franklin died Thursday in her Detroit home at age 76.

Franklin was surrounded by family and friends before passing away Thursday morning, reports confirm. The legendary singer died from an advanced form of pancreatic cancer which was confirmed by her oncologist.

Throughout her seven-decade career, Franklin paved the way as one of the most successful female artists in music history. With 18 Grammy Awards under her belt, and 75 million records sold worldwide, she was the first female performer to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Rolling Stone named her "the greatest singer of all time" in 2012, and she was also inducted into The Gospel Music Hall of Fame along with fellow mainstream music legend Elvis Presley (who also died on August 16, 41 years ago).

Born in Memphis on March 25, 1942, Franklin's family moved to Detroit when she was just 5 years old. Her mother, Barbara, was also a singer but her life was cut short and she died before Franklin's 10th birthday. Her father, Clarence LaVaughn "C. L." Franklin was a popular preacher at Detroit's New Bethel Baptist Church. Her famous dad was often visited by people such as Martin Luther King Jr., Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke, and gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, who Franklin accredited as her mentor.
Franklin was a child prodigy and by the age of ten, she was already performing in church.