Aretha Franklin's Life in Photos

Eighteen-time Grammy Award winner and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Aretha Franklin was known for her powerful, gospel-honed vocals. She influenced countless artists across generations, earning her the top spot on Rolling Stone's "Greatest Singers of All Time" list and the undisputed title of "Queen of Soul."

24 photos
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Seated portrait of R&B singer Aretha Franklin during her youth.
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Jerry Wexler and Aretha Franklin are seen in a recording studio in this file photo.
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From left: Kennedy Center Honors Awards recipients musician Pete Seeger, theater producer Harold Prince, musician and composer Morton Gould, musician Aretha Franklin and actor Kirk Douglas are seen during a reception in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 4, 1994.
Fred A. Sabine/NBC
Singer Aretha Franklin stands for a portrait for the Andy Williams Show on May 4, 1969.
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Singer Aretha Franklin performs at the Muhammad Ali variety special for ABC on May 16, 1975.
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From left: Keith Sykes, Denny Dillon, Ann Risley, Elle Burstyn, Aretha Franklin, Eddie Murphy, Joe Piscopo, Gilbert Gottfried, Yvonne Hudson, and Charles Rocket is seen during a Saturday Night Live episode, 'Closing,' on Dec. 6, 1980.
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Aretha Franklin stands with real estate developer Donald J. Trump in this Jan. 1, 1990, file photo.
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Singer Aretha Franklin and talk show host Oprah Winfrey are seen backstage at the Radio City Music Hall on Sept. 14, 1991.
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Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson and Diana Ross stand with a crowd in front of the Lincoln Memorial Jan. 17, 1993, in Washington, D.C., to celebrate the inauguration of President Bill Clinton.
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Torchbearer Aretha Franklin carries the Olympic Flame during the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Torch Relay in Detroit, Michigan.
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Singer Britney Spears stands with her grandfather and singer Aretha Franklin after attending a media conference for the 2003 NFL Kickoff on Sept. 3, 2003, in Washington, D.C.
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President George W. Bush, right, presents singer Aretha Franklin the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the Freedom Awards Ceremony at the White House in Washington D.C. on Nov. 9, 2005.
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Singer Aretha Franklin snaps a photo during the National Anthem prior to the start of Super Bowl XL between the Seattle Seahawks and the Pittsburgh Steelers at Ford Field on Feb. 5, 2006, in Detroit, Michigan.
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Singer Aretha Franklin and Aaron Neville perform the National Anthem before the start of Super Bowl XL between the Seattle Seahawks and the Pittsburgh Steelers at Ford Field on Feb. 5, 2006, in Detroit, Michigan.
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Singer and songwriter Aretha Franklin appears at Berklee College of Music's commencement on May 13, 2006, in Boston, Massachusetts. Franklin, along with singer Melissa Etheridge, received honorary degrees for their achievements in music.
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Director Tyler Perry, right, presents singer Aretha Franklin the Vanguard Award onstage during the 39th NAACP Image Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on Feb. 14, 2008, in Los Angeles, California.
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Aretha Franklin performs during the Mandela Day: A 46664 Celebration Concert at Radio City Music Hall on July 18, 2009, in New York City.
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Reverend Al Sharpton and Aretha Franklin cut the cake at Sharpton's 60th birthday celebration at the Four Seasons Restaurant on Oct. 1, 2014, in New York City.
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Legendary singer Aretha Franklin receives an honorary doctorate during the 2014 graduation ceremony for New York University at Yankee Stadium on May 21, 2014, in New York, New York.
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President Barack Obama fist bumps with singer Aretha Franklin, who sung during a farewell ceremony for Attorney General Eric Holder at the Justice Department on Feb. 27, 2015, in Washington, D.C. The ceremony was held to unveil the Attorney General's official portrait and commemorate his tenure before his expected departure from the department after more than six years of service.
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Pope Francis, center, looks on as Aretha Franklin performs during the Festival of Families on Sept. 26, 2015, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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Aretha Franklin waves after her performance at the International Jazz Day Concert on the South Lawn of the White House on April 29, 2016, in Washington, D.C.
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Aretha Franklin performs onstage at the Elton John AIDS Foundation gala at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on Nov. 7, 2017, in New York, New York.
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