Aretha Franklin: Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger and Barbra Streisand lead tributes

Aretha Franklin news ‘Gravely ill’ singer is'at peace with her journey

There had also been reports that she suffered from diabetes, though it was unclear if she had type 1 or type 2.

Showbiz 411's Roger Friedman told CNN: "She has a great family, she's surrounded by love, and the world is sending prayers". They relocated to Detroit, which Aretha Franklin always called home, and her earliest recordings were made at her father's church.

"In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade - our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect", the Obamas said Thursday. "We sincerely apologize to Aretha Franklin's family and friends".

"Initially you're saddened, but then when you think about her being a child of God, you know it's about eternal life not just life", said Smith. "There were times that we were asked to go to the back of the restaurant - say - or we couldn't use the bathrooms". Franklin was an internationally known singer, but she was, and is, a Detroit girl. FOX 2 Detroit News Anchor Huel Perkins is a close friend, and says Aretha was particularly challenged health wise over the past year but that her spirits were always high.

"It was the right song at the right time", she said.

Aretha's health problems began in 2010.

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The legendary singer was diagnosed with cancer in 2010 and announced a year ago she was retiring from music.

"A lot of people don't have the money to get to Detroit or Chicago or Los Angeles to pay their respects", Ballard said. Like the rest of the nation, Franklin was devaststed by King's 1968 assasination in Memphis, Tenn.

It was later revealed that she had been battling advanced pancreatic cancer. In a career crossing generations, her hits spanned soul and R&B, to gospel and pop. She was beyond a legend in the nation and world. Her drummer and friend, Gayelynn McKinney, is remembering her for her powerful voice.

"Respect" shot up to the top of the charts and not only became Aretha's signature song, it also became an anthem for civil rights and feminism.

Franklin's fans flooded social media with tributes, many describing the effect her music had on their lives.

The 18-time Grammy award victor inspired multiple singers during her five-decade career from pop diva Mariah Carey and the late Whitney Houston, to Alicia Keys, Beyonce, Mary J Blige and the late Amy Winehouse. Franklin became the first female singer inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. President George W. Bush awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, in 2005.

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