Even when you know it’s coming, you’re never really prepared. A few days ago, some of Aretha Franklin’s family members were still praying and hoping that she would pull through, while others were bracing themselves for the worst. However, news reports have just confirmed that she has lost her battle with pancreatic cancer and has died at the age of 76.

During her 60-year career, Aretha has had 20 number-one Billboard hits, 49 award nominations and 38 awards, and dominated the charts in the ’70s and ’80s. Besides her awards for music, she has also received numerous awards for her contribution to the music industry, including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Aretha’s life was, at times, far from the glamorous diva we saw on stage. She survived teen pregnancy, domestic violence and an unstable family home. Even her music career was tumultuous. However, the Queen of Soul continued to grace us with her iconic tunes, even touring as late as last year. While there were many, many moments that could we use to define her career, our favourite is when she sang at Obama’s Inauguration.

Many of us will be singing along to her all time hits ‘Respect’, ‘Natural Woman’ and many others for the rest of the week, as tributes pour in.

Shonda Rhimes: 

Local celebrities including Maps Maponyane: 

Debbie Allen: 

Boity Thulo

Rest In Power, Queen of Soul.