Aretha Franklin has passed away (read our official tribute here and how the dance music world has reacted here).

The singer's representative, Gwendolyn Quinn, confirmed the news today.

It's reported that the 76-year-old's cause of death was pancreatic cancer.

News surfaced earlier this week that the 'Queen of Soul' was "gravely ill" in her hometown Detroit.

Aretha signed a deal with Columbia Records in 1960, releasing the album 'Aretha' with The Ray Bryant Combo a year later. In 1966 she signed to Atlantic Records, with whom she had her first top 10 hit, 'I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)' in the Billboard Hot 100.

Other hits include 'Respect', '(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman', 'I Say A Little Prayer' and 'Chain Of Fools', helping her sell over 75 million records worldwide. This makes her one of the best-selling musical artists of all time.

She won a total of 18 Grammys in her career, including the Legend Award in 1991 and the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994. Other accolades include being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005 and the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2015.

Dave Turner is Mixmag's Digital News Editor, follow him on Twitter