After the startling news of her poor health surface on Monday morning, Aretha Franklin has passed away at the age of 76 according to TMZ.
According to TMZ, Franklin's family was told about a week ago to "prepare yourself" as the legendary soul singer rapidly declined in health.
The cause of Franklin's illness has not been made public, though sources close to the singer say that she has been battling cancer. In 2010, rumors started circulating that Franklin had pancreatic cancer, but she denied these reports.
“I don’t know where ‘pancreatic cancer’ came from," she said in 2011. “I was sitting there reading the newspaper and it was saying someone in my family said that. No one in my family ever said that to anybody.”
Franklin did tell Access Hollywood, however, that she had required surgery in 2010 due to a health scare.
“He [the doctor] said, ‘The surgery that you just had is going to add 15 to 20 more years to your life,'” the "Respect" singer said.
The Grammy-winning singer shot to fame in 1967 when she had four number one singles on the R&B charts. Her songs "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)," "Baby I Love You," "Chain of Fools," and of course, "Respect," earned Franklin her first Grammy wins and nominations, and solidified her status as an icon.
Franklin was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and even had her voice declared a Michigan "natural resource."
Franklin was not only a legendary musician, but she also was the mother of four sons. At the age of 12, she gave birth to her first child, named Clarence. Two years later, she welcomed her son Edward, named after the child's father. Both of Franklin's sons took her family name. In 1964, Franklin welcomed her third son, Ted White Jr., and three years later she gave birth to Kecalf Cunningham.
Because of her achievements, Franklin was awarded multiple honorary degrees, including an honorary degree from Harvard University in 2014, honorary doctorates in music from Princeton University, 2012, Yale University, 2010, Brown University, 2009, Berklee College of Music, 2006, New England Conservatory of Music, 1995, and University of Michigan, 1987. Franklin was granted an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by Wayne State University in 1990 and an honorary Doctor of Law by Bethune-Cookman College in 1975.