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    Updated on Aug 17, 2018. Posted on Aug 16, 2018

    Aretha Franklin "Queen Of Soul" Facts You Should Know

    The legendary singer died today at age 76.

    Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, died Thursday after battling pancreatic cancer. Here are some facts to celebrate the iconic musician and her awe-inspiring life:

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    1. She received honorary degrees from Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Brown, Berklee College of Music, the New England Conservatory of Music, AND the University of Michigan.

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    All honored her talents and achievements in music and her contributions to civil rights.

    2. She was Whitney Houston's "honorary aunt."

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    Franklin was close friends and musical associates with Houston's mother, Cissy. Houston affectionately referred to Franklin as "Auntie Ree."

    3. She had a fear of flying.

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    In a 2011 interview on The Wendy Williams Show, Franklin confessed that her fear of flying kept her from traveling abroad, explaining why she only toured around North America.

    4. Her sisters, Carolyn and Erma, sang background vocals on several of her early recordings.

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    Both Carolyn and Erma were also professional singers.

    5. In 2005, she was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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    President George W. Bush presented her with the highest civil honor, reserved only for those who've made significant contributions to national security, world peace, and/or culture.

    6. She died the same day as Elvis, the King of Rock and Roll — only 41 years later.

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    Both music legends died on August 16, but Presley in 1977 and Franklin in 2018.

    7. She was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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    She was inducted in 1987 and simply deemed "Lady Soul."

    8. She got engaged to her longtime friend Willie Wilkerson twice, calling off their second engagement in 2012.

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    The couple were first engaged in 1987 before calling it off. Despite ending their second engagement as well, the two remained in a relationship.

    9. She has a total of 18 Grammy Awards.

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    In addition to her 18 wins — 16 competitive and 2 honorary — Franklin was nominated a ~grand total~ of 44 TIMES.

    10. She became pregnant with the first of her four sons when she was only 12 years old.

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    She named him Clarence after her father, Baptist minister C.L. Franklin. The father of the child was Donald Burk, a boy she knew from school.

    11. She taught herself how to play piano by ear.

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    Her father offered to teach her, but Franklin insisted on learning by listening to old records.

    12. She started her own record label called Aretha's Records.

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    In 2011, Franklin searched for "classically-trained vocalists and musicians she could mold" for her new record label.

    13. She sang at the inaugurations of presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.

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    Her performance of "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" at President Obama's first inauguration brought down the house not only because of her vocal chops, but also because of her funny hat.

    14. She has a street in Detroit named after her.

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    To honor the Queen of Soul, Franklin's home city renamed a section of Madison Street "Aretha Franklin Way."

    15. An all-star tribute concert celebrating Franklin and her music is scheduled for Nov. 14, 2018, at Madison Square Garden.

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    However, the lineup has not yet been announced.

    16. She was seen as a symbol of black equality and female empowerment.

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    Upon her 2012 induction into the GMA Gospel Hall of Fame, Franklin was called "the voice of the civil rights movement," "the voice of black America," and a "symbol of black equality."

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