Aretha Franklin’s Detroit Hometown Remembers Its Soul Legend

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Aretha Franklin’s hometown of Detroit, Mich., gathered to pay tribute to a musician that elevated the bar of each genre she decided to command. When the “Respect” singer fell ill earlier this week, calls for prayers and vigils were held from across the world to Detroit’s New Bethel Baptist Church. A few days later, reports stated that Franklin was at “peace with her journey” and was pronounced dead on Thursday morning (Aug. 16). The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, 76, had a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

Her roots in Detroit are as firm and strong as the church her father, CL Franklin, was once a preacher (the same church where the vigil was held). Part of his ministry included advocating for safe housing and civil rights, and it’s where his daughters (Carolyn, Erma, and Aretha) performed gospel melodies. To further solidify her hometown hero status, Franklin performed at the 2016 Super Bowl when the Detroit Lions played against the Minnesota Vikings. In a 2011 interview with the Detroit Free Press, Franklin reassured her native Detroiters that her pride for the city is embedded in her veins. “I like the camaraderie in Detroit,” she said, “how we’ll rally behind something that’s really worthy and come to each other’s assistance.”

In a statement issued by the acclaimed musician’s family, they thanked supporters for their outpour of well-wishes. “We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and fans all around the world,” the passage reads via The Hollywood Reporter. “Thank you for your compassion and prayers. We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.”

Read a few comments on Franklin’s impact on Detroit below.

READ MORE: RIP Queen Of Soul: Watch Aretha Franklin’s Final Performance