Aretha Franklin was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
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A Look Through the Outstanding Life of Aretha Franklin in Photos

August 16, 2018 10:32 AM EDT

Legendary singer Aretha Franklin died on Thursday at the age of 76. The artist, often known as the Queen of Soul, was a musical icon and powerhouse, remembered for timeless hits including “Respect,” “Think,” (You Make Me Feel Like) “A Natural Woman” and “Chain of Fools,” turning her into one of the biggest music stars of the 1960s and ensuing decades. Franklin released her most recent album, A Brand New Me, in November 2017.

Born in Memphis, Tenn., in 1942, Franklin was widely considered one of the vocal greats of the last half-century, getting her start singing in church before finding her place in the studio and in stardom’s spotlight. During her decades-long career as an artist, Franklin released more than 40 albums, plus a number of live and compilation albums. She performed at such events as the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama and the 2005 Super Bowl XL, and received accolades including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and 18 Grammy Awards and 44 nominations. Franklin also made history as the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

“I didn’t think my songs would become anthems for women. But I’m delighted,” Franklin told TIME for the Firsts Project. “Women probably immediately feel compassion and relate to the lyrics. We can all learn a little something from each other, so whatever people can take and be inspired by where my music is concerned is great.”

Aretha Franklin performs during a taping of "The Jonathan Winters Show," Jan. 5, 1968 in Los Angeles.
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Aretha Franklin performing in 1968.
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Aretha Franklin performs in 1969.
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Aretha Franklin in Central Park, New York City, 1968.
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Aretha Franklin and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the late 1960s.
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Aretha Franklin, center, her father, Reverend C. L. Franklin, and her sister, fellow singer Carolyn in New York, 1971.
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Aretha Franklin fixes her makeup backstage before a performance at Symphony Hall in 1969, Newark.
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Aretha Franklin performs in 1971.
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People wait on line to buy tickets to see Aretha Franklin at the Apollo Theatre in New York.
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Aretha Franklin wins best female R&B vocal performance at the 14th Annual Grammy Awards in 1972 for her performance of Bridge Over Troubled Water.
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Aretha Franklin performs with James Brown during a Home Box Office taping at the Taboo night club in Detroit.
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Muhammad Ali, left, and Aretha Franklin on The Muhammad Ali Variety Show in 1975.
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Aretha Franklin, center, lip-synchs her song Think for the 1980 film The Blues Brothers, starring Dan Aykroyd, far left, John Belushi, second left, and Matt Murphy, back right.
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Aretha Franklin rehearses l for the "Aretha Franklin: Duets" concert to benefit the Gay Men's Health Crisis at the Nederlander Theater in April 1993 in New York.
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Aretha Franklin performs at the inaugural gala for President Bill Cinton on Jan. 19, 1993.
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President George W. Bush presents Aretha Franklin with the 2005 Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House in Washington D.C. on Nov. 9, 2005.
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Aretha Franklin sings at the inauguration of President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 20, 2009.
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Aretha Franklin, right, finishes her performance with President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and Harry Johnson, president and CEO of the MLK National Memorial Project Fund as they attend the dedication of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on the National Mall Oct. 16, 2011 in Washington, DC.
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Aretha Franklin receives an honorary Doctor of Arts degree at the Harvard commencement ceremonies, in Cambridge, Mass. in May 2014.
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Aretha Franklin performs at the Elton John AIDS Foundation Fall Gala at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on Nov. 7, 2017 in New York.
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