Aretha Franklin Dies At 76 Following Long Battle With Cancer

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Aug. 16 2018, Updated 2:03 p.m. ET

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Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin has died at the age of 76, RadarOnline.com can confirm. The Queen of Soul passed away on Thursday, August 16, surrounded by her friends and family in her native Detroit.

The singer, who has won 18 Grammys over the course of her prolific career, had been battling cancer while in her home.

Franklin was originally diagnosed with pancreatic cancer back in 2010 and has been bravely fighting the aggressive disease over the past few years. She relapsed in her cancer battle in 2017, and caught a horrific illness earlier this month.

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Family members even prepared for her death by visiting a cemetery and digging her grave.

Longtime friends visited the iconic singer at her bedside to say their goodbyes before her sad death.

Click through Radar's gallery to get a glimpse inside Franklin's years of health hell that ultimately led to her demise.

//aretha frankline dead cancer secret surgeries health crisis past
Source: Getty Images

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan confirmed the music icon's passing in a touching statement. The politician said that both Franklin and her father have meant so much to the city, an fans everywhere are "deeply saddened" to hear about her death. "I was honored to present Aretha with the key to our city last year, and her last concert in Detroit. While she may have passed, Aretha Franklin will always have the key to our hearts," he wrote.

As Radar readers know, Franklin, 76, died in her Detroit home this Thursday, surrounded by her loved ones.

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//aretha frankline dead cancer secret surgeries health crisis past
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Most recently, the artist publicly performed at Philadelphia’s Mann Center in August 2017 despite battling exhaustion and dehydration. Her last performance was on November 2, 2017 for the Elton John AIDS Foundation in New York.

Fears for Franklin's health became apparent after her sister-in-law exclusively told Radar on Monday the star's outlook was “not looking good.” “She’s very ill…She has been under the weather for months,” Cendia Franklin exclusively told Radar. “A lot of her family is around her, supporting her.”

//aretha frankline dead cancer secret surgeries health crisis past
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On top of her battle with cancer, Franklin became even more "gravely ill” as she was suffering “exhaustion and dehydration” since 2017.

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//aretha frankline dead cancer secret surgeries health crisis past
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In 2011, Franklin danced around rumors about her health and denied she lost weight through gastric bypass surgery. Asked what kind of surgery she did have, the Freeway of Love singer said: “It’s really not necessary…to talk about one’s personal medical issues.”

//aretha frankline dead cancer secret surgeries health crisis past
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Franklin allegedly tipped the scale at a whopping 300 pounds after her cancer relapse in 2017.

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//aretha frankline dead cancer secret surgeries health crisis past
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Franklin did allow fans to rest assured, however, revealing her doctor said to her "Mrs. Franklin, you are going to feel better than you have felt maybe in 10 or 15 years…and the surgery that you had is going to add 15 years to your life."

//aretha frankline dead cancer secret surgeries health crisis past
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The surgery included removing half of her stomach, the head of her pancreas, and parts of her bile duct, gallbladder and duodenum.

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//aretha frankline dead cancer secret surgeries health crisis past
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“She was due to have radical chemotherapy treatments, and was told by doctors she needed to lose weight if she wanted to survive,” a source said of Franklin.

//aretha frankline dead cancer secret surgeries health crisis past
Source: Getty Images

But Franklin's efforts to turn her health around seemingly failed.

“She’s very ill…She has been under the weather for months,” said Cendia, who is married to Franklin’s brother Vaughn. She added that “a lot of her family is around her, supporting her.”

//aretha frankline dead cancer secret surgeries health crisis past
Source: Getty Images

In her final days, longtime pals visited Franklin to say their goodbyes. Stevie Wonder and ex-husband Glynn Turman, were two of the last people to wish farewell to the beloved music icon.

RIP Aretha Franklin.

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