WASHINGTON, DC – Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. joins with the family and loved ones of Aretha Franklin in grieving the loss of this music giant. We extend our sincere condolences to the Franklin children and the entire family. We remember her life and celebrate her legacy as an international cultural icon.

Soror Franklin was born in Memphis, Tennessee on March 25, 1942 and demonstrated her singing abilities at an early age at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan under the leadership of her father the late Rev. C.L. Franklin. Soror Franklin was initiated as an Honorary Member into Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. on Friday, June 5, 1992 in New York City.

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“We are honored to have had her as part of our illustrious sisterhood,” said Beverly E. Smith, National President and CEO. “We salute her memory.”

While she had a music career that spanned six decades, Soror Franklin is best remembered for her timeless hit “RESPECT.” It was a song that she not only sang but also lived, as she was highly regarded by both her peers within the music industry and generations that followed. Her music is timeless and has crossed genres and countries. She will always be loved and respected world-wide as the “Queen of Soul.” In true Delta fashion, not only was she a multi-Grammy Award recipient, she was also a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, our country’s highest civilian honor. And, she was ranked as number one of “The Greatest Singers of All Time” by Rolling Stone magazine.

As long as we continue to enjoy classics like “A Natural Woman,” “Chain of Fools” or “Think,” Aretha Franklin’s spirit of musical excellence will live on.

ABOUT DELTA SIGMA THETA Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. was founded in 1913 on the campus of Howard University to promote academic excellence; to provide scholarships; to provide support to the underserved; educate and stimulate participation in the establishment of positive public policy; and to highlight issues and provide solutions for problems in their communities. Today Delta Sigma Theta Sorority has over 200,000 initiated members and more than 1,000 chapters worldwide. The Sorority uses its Five-Point Programmatic Thrust of economic development, educational development, international awareness and involvement, physical and mental health, and political awareness and involvement to create its national programs.

This post originally appeared on DeltaSigmaTheta.org.