Remembering Aretha Franklin

By Meg Wagner and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 5:03 p.m. ET, August 16, 2018
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11:00 a.m. ET, August 16, 2018

Elton John was in the audience for Aretha Franklin's last performance

Aretha Franklin  and Elton John in 2011 in New York City
Aretha Franklin and Elton John in 2011 in New York City Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Tony Bennett

Music icon Elton John shared a series of tweets remembering the legendary Aretha Franklin. He said he got to watch her last performance.

"I was fortunate enough to spend time with her and witness her last performance – a benefit for @ejaf at St John The Divine Cathedral. She was obviously unwell, and I wasn’t sure she could perform. But Aretha did and she raised the roof," he tweeted.

He continued:

"She sang and played magnificently, and we all wept. We were witnessing the greatest soul artist of all time. I adored her and worshipped her talent. God bless her. My condolences to all her family and friends. We shared the same birthday – and that meant so much to me."

Here are a few more tweets John shared this morning:

11:00 a.m. ET, August 16, 2018

A look back at Aretha Franklin's Grammy wins

Aretha Franklin, known as the "Queen of Soul," had 44 Grammy nominations and 18 wins. Ten of those wins are for Best R&B Vocal Performance.

Here's a look at those nominations and wins:

  • 1967: After signing with Atlantic Records, Franklin wins a Grammy Award Best R&B Recording for "Respect."
  • 1967-1974: She wins a total of ten Grammy Awards.
  • 1981: Franklin wins a Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female for "Hold On I'm Comin'."
  • 1985: She wins a Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female for "Freeway Of Love."
  • 1987: Franklin earns two Grammy Awards for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female for "Aretha" and Best R&B Performance by a Duo, with George Michael, "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)."
  • 1988: She wins a Grammy Award for Best Soul Gospel Performance, Female for "One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism."
  • 1991: Franklin receives the Grammy Legend Award.
  • 1994: She is presented with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. She is the youngest recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor at that time.
  • 2003 - She wins a Grammy Award for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for "Wonderful."
  • 2005: Franklin wins a Grammy Award for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for "A House Is Not A Home."
  • 2007: She wins a Grammy Award for Best Gospel Performance for "Never Gonna Break My Faith," shared with Mary J. Blige.
  • Feb. 10, 2008: She becomes Grammy's 2008 MusiCares Person of the Year.
10:52 a.m. ET, August 16, 2018

Barbra Streisand: "It’s difficult to conceive of a world without her"

Singer and actress Barbra Streisand took to Twitter to remember legendary singer Aretha Franklin.

She shared a photograph of Franklin from 2012 and wrote, "Not only was she a uniquely brilliant singer, but her commitment to civil rights made an indelible impact on the world."

Read Streisand's tweet:

10:50 a.m. ET, August 16, 2018

Diana Ross: I'm praying for "the wonderful golden spirit Aretha Franklin"

 Diana Ross
Diana Ross Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Fellow singer Diana Ross just tweeted a tribute to Aretha Franklin:

10:39 a.m. ET, August 16, 2018

"Salute to the Queen": Today's performers are tweeting tributes to a legend

Artists and performers are tweeting tributes to the legendary Aretha Franklin.

Here are some of today's musicians remembering Franklin:

John Legend: "Salute to the Queen"

Lenny Kravitz: "RESPECT!"

Ricky Martin: "We love you"

Lin-Manuel Miranda: "Thank you for the music"

Kelly Rowland: "Rest peacefully queen"

10:39 a.m. ET, August 16, 2018

Bill and Hillary Clinton: She was "one of America's greatest national treasures"

Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said they are mourning the loss of their friend, Aretha Franklin.

In a statement, the Clintons said Franklin was "elegant, graceful, and utterly uncompromising in her artistry."

Read their statement:

Hillary and I mourn the loss of our friend Aretha Franklin, one of America's greatest national treasures. For more than 50 years, she stirred our souls. She was elegant, graceful, and utterly uncompromising in her artistry. Aretha’s first music school was the church and her performances were powered by what she learned there. I'll always be grateful for her kindness and support, including her performances at both my inaugural celebrations, and for the chance to be there for what sadly turned out to be her final performance last November at a benefit supporting the fight against HIV/AIDS. She will forever be the Queen of Soul and so much more to all who knew her personally and through her music. Our hearts go out to her family and her countless fans.
10:28 a.m. ET, August 16, 2018

Recording Academy remembers Franklin as an "incomparable artist" with distinctive sound

The Recording Academy just released a statement remembering Aretha Franklin.

Her distinctive sound, unforgettable recordings, and giving spirit will continue to be celebrated worldwide," the statement read.
 “Aretha Franklin was an incomparable artist who came to be recognized as one of the most profound voices in music. Known universally as the Queen of Soul, she solidified her legendary status in the late 1960s with chart-topping recordings that included "Respect," "A Natural Woman (You Make Me Feel Like)," and "Think." During her six-decade career Aretha earned 44 GRAMMY® nominations, 18 GRAMMY Awards, and was recognized by the Recording Academy™ on several occasions for her remarkable accomplishments as an artist and philanthropist. We were privileged to honor her with the Recording Academy's GRAMMY Legend Award in 1991, the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994, and as the 2008 MusiCares® Person of the Year for her extraordinary artistic achievements and charitable efforts. Her distinctive sound, unforgettable recordings, and giving spirit will continue to be celebrated worldwide. Aretha will be dearly missed, and our thoughts go out to her loved ones during this difficult time.”  
10:56 a.m. ET, August 16, 2018

She died of advanced pancreatic cancer

Aretha Franklin died of advanced pancreatic cancer, her publicist said.

Her cause of death was confirmed by Franklin’s oncologist, Dr. Philip Phillips, her publicist Gwendolyn Quinn said. Phillips works at Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit.

She died at 9:50 a.m. ET Thursday at her home in Detroit, Michigan. Franklin was surrounded by family and loved ones.

10:18 a.m. ET, August 16, 2018

Aretha Franklin's family: "We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family"

From CNN’s Carolyn Sung

Aretha Franklin's publicist Gwendolyn Quinn just released a statement from her on the singer's death.

"We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds," the statement dead

Funeral arrangements will be announced in the coming days.

Here's the full statement:

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. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds.
We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and fans all around the world. Thank you for your compassion and prayers. We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.