Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul, has died at 76

Posing for a portrait lying on a couch circa 1973

Posing for a portrait lying on a couch circa 1973

Australian actor Hugh Jackman once shared the stage with Franklin.

"Amazing Grace" (1972): After more than a decade in which she focused on pop material, Franklin returned with renewed intensity to the gospel music of her childhood in what has often been called the best-selling gospel album of all time.

Hundreds of fans, friends and fellow singers expressed their gratitude for the artist's contributions to the music industry, including Diana Ross, Paul McCartney and the Obamas.

The photo of LaBelle was in the background of a title card depicting Franklin's lifespan, an image that was broadcast on the cable network shortly after news broke that Franklin, 76, had died at her Detroit home Thursday morning.

"We sincerely apologize to Aretha Franklin's family and friends", spokeswoman Jessica Santostefano said in a statement to HuffPost.

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"Thank you for your compassion and prayers".

"As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this hard time".

The family has not announced plans for a funeral or a memorial, but there are already plans for multiple memorials in various forms in Aretha's hometown.

Aretha made her last ever performance last November in NY, at an Elton John Aids Foundation gala.

A statement from Franklin's family, via the singer's long-time publicist Gwendolyn Quinn, said that she died "surrounded by family and loved ones".

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Jennifer Hudson is paying tribute to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. She was beyond a legend in the nation and world.

Former first lady and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton also weighed in, tweeting that Franklin "deserves not only our RESPECT but also our lasting gratitude for opening our eyes, ears and hearts". You'd be hard-pressed to name a voting-age citizen who doesn't know her name.

And she delivered a virtuoso performance on Thanksgiving Day 2016, when the Detroit Lions played the Minnesota Vikings, accompanying herself on a baby grand piano positioned at the 50-yard line. I was fortunate enough to spend time with her and witness her last performance - a benefit for the Elton John AIDS Foundation at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in NY. "Through her compositions and unmatched musicianship, Aretha helped define the American experience". We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. "We were witnessing the greatest soul artist of all time". Her passing is not only a tremendous personal loss for me, but for people all over the world who were touched by her incredible gift and remarkable spirit. My prayers go out to her family and friends. She was a living manifestation of pride - but there was always something unknowable in Aretha Franklin, the suggestion of a pain she would not share.

In her key scene, Franklin (as Mrs. Murphy) sings iconic soul classic "Think" to her husband Matt "Guitar' Murphy in the middle of their restaurant when Jake and Elwood try and recruit him to their band".

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