NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – From Hollywood to Harlem, music fans around the world are remembering the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.
The legendary songstress died at her Detroit home Thursday at the age of 76 following a battle with pancreatic cancer.
Outside the Apollo Theater, where Franklin performed many times over her career, fans sang in a chorus of tribute.
“When I heard it, I just broke down in tears,” one woman said.
They mourned the loss, while also celebrating her life.
“Aretha was very much part of my life growing up – not just her R&B music, but also her gospel beginnings,” said fan Rob Abernathy.
Watch: CBS News Special Report On Singer’s Life & Legacy
Her 1960s hits earned her the most fame during her career that spanned more than 50 years of soul, R&B and rock. But she always drew from her core – her beginning in the church.
Franklin was born in Memphis in 1942. She was the daughter of C.L. Franklin, a prominent Baptist preacher and one of Dr. Martin Luther King’s major fundraisers. He first had her sing in front of a huge congregation when she was a shy 9-year-old.
“They would have me stand on a little chair,” she once said.
She taught herself the piano.
Watch: Apollo Theater Crowd Celebrates Life of Aretha Franklin
At 13, she gave birth to a son. By 15, she recorded her first gospel album and had another son.
Franklin’s grandmother raised the boys while the young mother pursued her singing career.
Franklin sang for presidents and dignitaries, including former President Barack Obama during his 2009 inauguration.
Aretha helped define the American experience. In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade—our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect. May the Queen of Soul rest in eternal peace. pic.twitter.com/bfASqKlLc5
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 16, 2018
Her biggest hit, Respect, wasn’t actually her own. It was written by Otis Redding, and then she recorded it with help from her sister.
“We came up with the cliché ‘sock-it-to-me,’ which became world famous,” she once said.
Her impact was far-reaching in music and culture – a lasting legacy her fans will never forget.
Franklin’s final performance was last November at a fundraiser hosted by Elton John.