In 2014, Franklin reached a new milestone by becoming the first woman to have her 100th hit on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart with "Rolling in the Deep (The Aretha Version)". "In their own way, 3-year-olds would like respect, and acknowledgement, in their terms".
She won 18 Grammy Awards and became the first female performer inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. By 1961, she made the transition into pop; between 1961 and 1969, she recorded 10 albums with Columbia Records.
Rising to fame in the 1960s, perhaps her best known song is the cover of Otis Redding's classic hit Respect, reaching number one in the USA and the top ten in the UK.
The cause was advanced pancreatic cancer. As a young singer, Franklin fluidly incorporated blues, jazz, and R&B into her music.
Franklin is among the best-selling artists in music history, with 75 million records sold worldwide. Other hits included "Daydreaming" and "I Say a Little Prayer". "Gospel is a constant with me".
Franklin's songs, meanwhile, have been featured in countless films and TV shows during her decades-long career.
She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005 by then-president George W. Bush and sang in 2009 at Barack Obama's presidential inauguration.
Aretha was born in Memphis, Tenn. on March 25, 1942. Her father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin, was respected as a civil rights leader, an early advocate of "black pride" and a friend of King. During the twelve years she was with at Atlantic Records, she recorded nineteen albums. She signed with Arista Records, and in the 1980s and 1990s released songs like "Jump to It", "Freeway of Love" and "A Rose Is Still a Rose".
In 1970, after their marriage broke down, Jet magazine reported that White was investigated for shooting Sam Cooke's brother, who attempted to protect Franklin when her husband turned up at her house.
She was married twice - first to Theodore White, who she Wednesday in 1961 at the age of 19, but they split in 1986 after White was accused of domestic violence. As Franklin put it in her autobiography, she "Aretha-ized" the music. She filled in at the last minute for Luciano Pavarotti and unleashed an epic rendition of "Nessun Dorma" at the 1998 GRAMMY Awards.
Aretha was previously diagnosed with cancer in 2010, later confirming she had had a tumour removed.
Behind the scenes, the star first became a mother at 12 years old when she gave birth to son Clarence Franklin in 1955.
"I'm not ever going to retire", she told PBS in an interview.