Aretha Franklin, or more commonly known as “The Queen of Soul,” has passed away this morning after a short battle with advanced pancreatic cancer in her Detriot home. The critically acclaimed singer-songwriter’s top hits included, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “I Say A Little Prayer,” and “Respect” which has become an anthem for both the civil rights and female-empowerment movements. Rolling Stone magazine later declared it the fifth-greatest song of all time. She was also the first woman in music to have 100 charting singles.

Aretha Franklin receiving award from MLK, 1967, Detroit

Born March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tennessee, to C.L. Franklin, the most prominent black Baptist preacher in America during the mid-20th century, and a gospel singer, Aretha Louise Franklin began performing in front of her father’s congregation at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, which she considered her hometown. She became a star on gospel caravan tours with her father, known as “The Million Dollar Voice,” who became her manager when she was 14. At age sixteen, she went on tour with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and later sang at his funeral.

Franklin released her first album, “Songs of Faith,” in 1956, scoring regional hits with two gospel songs and occasionally touring with The Soul Stirrers, whose star was Sam Cooke.

In 1960, Franklin followed Cooke into secular music, recording a handful of Top 10 hits on the R&B charts. It took seven years and a switch of labels, to Atlantic Records, however, for her career to fully blossom in 1967, beginning with “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You),” which hit No. 1 on the R&B charts and was her first Top 10 pop single. Over the course of her six-decade career, she was the first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (1987), and received a total of 18 Grammy Awards.

Franklin’s death has devastated the world, causing a number of people in the music industry to share a few words.

Brenda Lee (vocalist): The music industry lost a lot of its soul with the passing of the great Aretha Franklin. With all of her success, stardom and notoriety, she kept her feet close to the ground and gave her heart to the world.

Chaka Khan (singer-songwriter): My heart is broken with the loss of my Queen, my Mentor, my True Friend. I will always cherish our moments together and LOVE YOU FOREVER. My heartfelt condolences to your family.

Wynonna Judd (country singer): I am just heartbroken. This cannot be happening. Oh how I love her. Meeting her was such a highlight. She is THE shero who changed my life. Her voice. Listening to her brings me closer to Heaven and I will love her forever. We have lost an American treasure. It’s the end of an era.

Sheila E. (drummer/singer): Ms. Aretha… there are no words meaningful enough to tell you all you have given us. You are now in Heaven singing like the Angel you are. I love you and will truly miss you.

Tanya Tucker (singer-songwriter): I never had the chance to meet her, but I love her. I mean, doesn’t everyone? She is the grand dame of soul! She could sing anything and make you believe it! I regret not having met a few of my heroes and icons in the music business, and she is definitely one of them. My thoughts and prayers are with Aretha’s family. All my love and great admiration to her!

Bette Midler (singer): The greatest voice in American popular music has been stilled. Our beloved #ArethaFranklin has gone. For me, she was a musical lighthouse, guiding and inspiring with every note. I loved her so and love her still. Goodbye, Queen of Soul.

Kelly Clarkson (singer-songwriter): Aretha Franklin is the reason why I sing from that part deep inside of me that few could ever reach. She was my favorite and will always be. What a gift she has left all of us with her musical footprints. There will never be another like her. She was truly special.

Bill Anderson (singer-songwriter): I never had the pleasure of meeting Aretha Franklin, but I was extremely honored when she recorded a song I co-wrote back in the seventies. The song was called, “I May Never Get To Heaven,” and was later a No. 1 country hit for Conway Twitty. Aretha put her own unique, personal stamp on it, and as great artists often do, made the song her very own. I admired her tremendously, and never tired of telling people that she recorded a song that I had a hand in writing. Rest in peace, Ms. Aretha, and thank you for the sunshine you brought into this country boy’s life.

Billy Ray Cyrus (singer-songwriter): Rest in peace Aretha Franklin. An amazing talent with one of the most moving voices of all time. Your music will live on forever.