DETROIT (WJBK) - Aretha may have been born in Tennessee, but arguably it was her church community at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit that raised her. It’s where she got her start as a Gospel singer, but later became an international star after her hit "Respect" in 1967.
A prayer vigil will be held at the church 5 a.m. Wednesday to pray for the Queen of Soul.
Aretha Franklin has won 18 Grammys and been nominated for more than three dozen.
She began signing as a youngster in her father's church. She was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll of Fame, and the youngest-ever recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors.
As a teen, Aretha's father, civil rights leader CL Franklin, helped her launch her gospel career but at 18, she signed on with Columbia Records. In a few years, she would have her first Top Forty hit on American Radio, and the rest is history.
“When it comes to starting out as musicians a lot of people have to learn the basics, and Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, Berry Gordy, all those type of people you have to learn from them to be great. Look at Beyoncé now, she takes a lot of things from Aretha,” Franklin fan Ya Ya Oke said. Beyonce was in town Monday night for her big concert with Jay Z, which we're told the pop star dedicated to Aretha.
“I pray for strength I pray the family has strength going through this hard time and they should have the fans out here praying as well,” Chukuma Okei said.
“God give his own gifts and her gift was to sing, not only secular music but gospel music,” Peter Spivey said, Deacon at New Bethel Baptist Church.
Relatives say she is surrounded by family and friends during this difficult time, asking for prayers.