Aretha Franklin died at 9.50am on Thursday, aged 76, surrounded by family at her home in Detroit
Franklin, a mother-of-four, had been battling advanced pancreatic cancer and was under hospice care
Her family said they were devastated to have 'lost the matriarch and rock of our family'
Memorials for the Queen of Soul quickly popped up across the country, including her Hollywood Walk of Fame star and her various theaters where she had performed
The undisputed Queen of Soul had announced her retirement from touring in November last year
Franklin recorded hundreds of tracks and had dozens of hits over the span of a half century
She won 18 Grammy awards and in 1987 became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Franklin endured the exhausting grind of celebrity and personal troubles dating way back to childhood
She had two sons by the time she was 16 and was often in turmoil as she struggled with her weight, alcoholism, family and financial problems for years
Elton John, Barbra Streisand, Oprah and The Clintons were among the first to pay tribute to the singer
Barack and Michelle Obama also wrote touching notes saying she 'helped define the American experience'
Memorials in honor of Aretha Franklin have started growing across the United States as her devastated fans, loved ones and fellow stars pay tribute to the long-reigning Queen of Soul following her death at age 76.
Franklin passed away on Thursday at 9.50am surrounded by family and friends at her home in Detroit following a battle with advanced pancreatic cancer.
'In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family,' a statement from her family read.
'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. Thank you for your compassion and prayers.