The family of Aretha Franklin confirmed Thursday that the 18-time Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter best known for hits like “Respect,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and “Spanish Harlem,” died of pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer. She was 76 years old.
Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (pancreatic NETs or PNETs) account for about 6 percent of all pancreatic tumors. They may be benign or malignant and they tend to grow slower than exocrine tumors. They develop from the abnormal growth of endocrine (hormone-producing) cells in the pancreas called islet cells. This is why these tumors are sometimes referred to as “islet cell tumors.”
We are so sorry to hear that the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, has passed away of #pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer, at 76. We send our condolences to all her loved ones & mourn the loss of another to this disease. https://t.co/3sl2gPEYaO #WageHope
— PanCAN (@PanCAN) August 16, 2018
“We mourn the loss of a legend and urge the public to take action against pancreatic cancer,” said Julie Fleshman, JD, MBA, president and CEO of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN). “We are working diligently to change outcomes for patients, but we need more people to get involved and help fund critical research.”
Pancreatic cancer has the lowest five-year survival rate of any major cancer in the United States at only 9 percent. In 2018, more than 55,000 people will be diagnosed and approximately 44,000 will die from the disease. Additionally, African-Americans have the highest incidence rate of pancreatic cancer, between 28 percent and 59 percent higher than the incidence rates for other racial/ethnic groups.
Members of the entertainment industry, politicians and fans have posted numerous condolence messages and expressed sadness at the loss of the iconic star.
Let’s all take a moment to give thanks for the beautiful life of Aretha Franklin, the Queen of our souls, who inspired us all for many many years. She will be missed but the memory of her greatness as a musician and a fine human being will live with us forever. Love Paul pic.twitter.com/jW4Gpwfdts
— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) August 16, 2018
Franklin joins a growing list of notable public figures affected by the disease.
On behalf of Franklin and all patients like her, PanCAN will continue to work diligently to double survival and improve patient outcomes.