Stevie Wonder and Jesse Jackson are among those who were the last people to visit the seriously ill artist Aretha Franklin, who passed away today at age 6.
Her publicist Gwendolyn Quinn released a family statement to the Associated Press that she died Thursday at 9:50 a.m.
“Franklin’s official cause of death was due to advance pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, which was confirmed by Franklin’s oncologist, Dr. Philip Phillips of Karmanos Cancer Institute,” the statement read.
“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 family shared.
Her nephew Tim Franklin said at the end of the week she was “alert, talking, laughing, joking” and that relatives were “trying to keep her spirits up and go from there … We believe she’ll pull through it, she believes she will pull through it, and that’s the important thing.”
Her ex Glynn Turman and Stevie Wonder visited the singer on Tuesday at her Detroit home. Franklin recorded an adaptation of Stevie Wonder’s tune Until You Come Back To Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do) in 1973. Jackson is required to visit her on Wednesday.
News of Franklin’s sickly wellbeing has provoked a flood of help. Even Bill Clinton, who had the soul legend perform at his 1993 inauguration gala, urged his Twitter followers to “lift her up by listening and sharing her songs that have meant the most to you.”