Aretha Franklin sadly passed away after a long battle with pancreatic cancer on August 16, leaving a void in the hearts of music lovers everywhere.
According to her death certificate, Franklin died after a long battle with pancreatic cancer, which she had previously denied having.
“I don’t know where ‘pancreatic cancer’ came from," she said in 2011. “I was sitting there reading the newspaper and it was saying someone in my family said that. No one in my family ever said that to anybody.”
Franklin died in her Detroit home, surrounded by friends and family. Her family released a statement thanking fans for their support.
We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds.
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.
We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.
Though she was known for her iconic voice, which was deemed a Michigan natural resource, Franklin's most important job was being a mother to her four sons.
When she was just 12 years old in 1955, Franklin gave birth to her first son Clarence, whom she named after her father. Just two years later, Franklin had another son named Edward. Both Clarence and Edward took Franklin's last name, as their respective fathers were not in the picture.
Franklin admits that as a young mother, she didn't always have her priorities in check.
“I still wanted to get out and hang out with my friends,” she told Ebony in 1995 of young motherhood. “I wanted to be in two places at the same time. But my grandmother helped me a lot, and my sister and my cousin. They would babysit so I could get out occasionally.”
In 1964, she had another son named Ted White Jr., with Ted White. Three years after that, Franklin welcomed her fourth son Kecalf Cunningham. The name Kecalf is an acronym for his parents' names (Ken E. Cunnigham and Aretha Louise Franklin).
After her death, many were curious as to what Franklin's will would read. We've seen stars leave out family members in the past, but would she do the same? As it turns out, Franklin didn't have a will at all.
It's shocking, considering how long she's been ill, but Franklin left no instructions on how to divvy up her $80 million fortune.
Because she didn't have a will, Michigan law states that all four of her children will equally split her estate. In theory, this will mean no drama between family members as every son gets an even cut.
Franklin's son Clarence has special needs, according to TMZ, and will require financial and "other forms of support" for the rest of his life, so it's interesting that there was nothing left behind to ensure this happens.
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
The "Respect" singer follows in the footsteps of stars like Prince, Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain, Marvin Gaye and Heather Ledger, who also did not leave wills behind after their death.
While it may seem strange that Franklin did not leave behind a will, one could argue that it spoke to how strong her family values were. She felt confident enough that her sons would be okay with splitting her estate evenly, and didn't think legal intervention would be required.
Hopefully she's right.
Do you think it's strange that Aretha Franklin did not leave a will?