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Aretha Franklin Dies; Legendary Singer was 76

Aretha Franklin, one of the most successful and influential solo artists in music history, died on Thursday morning after a lengthy battle with cancer.

She was 76 years old.

A number of reporters and outlets had warned the public ahead of time that Franklin’s time was sadly near, as multiple sources confirmed over the weekend that the legendary artist was gravely ill.

She ended up passing away while under hospice care in her Detroit home.

She was surrounded by friends and family members at the time.

In an unusual move, a tribute concert produced by Live Nation and spearheaded by Sony Music Chief Creative Officer Clive Davis, who signed Franklin to Arista Records in 1980, was actually announced prior to her passing.

The event will likely be titled “Clive Davis Presents: A Tribute to Aretha Franklin” and is scheduled to be at Madison Square Garden in New York City on November 14.

The legendary singer had not performed for an audience since November of 2017.

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Sources had even said that Franklin’s weight plummeted down to 85 pounds by the time she passed away.

Ahead of scheduled concerts in March and April of this year, the singer was forced to cancel the performances under doctor’s orders.

Dubbed The Queen of Soul decades ago, Franklin has been cited by contemporary superstars such as Beyonce and Mariah Carey as being a major influence and role model.

Her rundown of achievements is almost too long to list in one place.

But we’ll give it a shot…

– Franklin was nominated for 44 Grammy Wwards.

– She won 18 Grammy Awards over the course of her career.

– This figure represents the third-most Grammys ever won by an individual.

– From 1968 through 1975, she won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance every single year.

– Along with her most well-known song, “Respect,” the singer shot to fame with hits including “Natural Woman,” “I Say A Little Prayer” and “Chain of Fools,” many of which remain relevant today.

– Franklin was the first woman to be inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

– She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush in 2005.

– In 2010, she was named in the greatest singer of all time by Rolling Stone. 

Before Franklin even passed away, as soon as news broke that she was seriously ill, tributes and notes of sorrow started pouring forward on social media.

Missy Elliott summed it up well on Twitter when she wrote the following on Monday morning:

My prayers are with Aretha Franklin & her family during this difficult time. We MUST CELEBRATE the Living Legends while they are here to see it. So many have given us decades of Timeless music.

In 2017, after 56 years as a singer and songwriter, Franklin said she was retiring, saying at the time:

“I feel very, very enriched and satisfied with respect to where my career came from, and where it is now.

I’ll be pretty much satisfied, but I’m not going to go anywhere and just sit down and do nothing. That wouldn’t be good either.”

Expect the messages of sorrow and sympathy to continue for many hours, days and weeks.

What a career and what a woman.

May Aretha Franklin rest in peace.

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Steven Bochco Dies; Legendary TV Writer/Producer Was 74

Steven Bochco, the beloved television show creator and producer who won 10 Emmy Awards over the course of an illustrious career, has passed away.

He was 74 years old.

Although the exact cause of death has not been confirmed, Bochco suffered from leukemia, having received a stem cell transplant from an anonymous 23-year-old in late 2014.

A family spokesperson confirmed this sad piece of news on Sunday night.

“Steven fought cancer with strength, courage, grace and his unsurpassed sense of humor,” Phillip Arnold said, adding:

“He died peacefully in his sleep [at home] with his family close by.”

It’s possible that you had never heard of Steven Bochco before this, but, if you’re a fan of the small screen, it’s inconceivable that you have not heard of his work.

The producer was behind such all-time hits as Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law, NYPD Blue and Doogie Howser M.D.

Bochco was known for taking creative risks and pushing the proverbial envelope of what was accepted on television.

Take the show Cop Rock, for example, which was an actual musical set inside a police station.

Or Murder One, which followed a single murder case over an entire season.

Or the aforementioned NYPD Blue, which created quite the controversy for ABC back in the 1990s due to its mixture of violence, crude language and nudity.

(The drama went on to win 20 Emmys.)

Once asked how he could be so bold about taking chances with the shows he developed, Bochco referenced a then-unprecedented 10-series contract he had signed with ABC and replied:

“With my deal, how could I not?”

In 1999, the Producers Guild of America honored Bochco with its David Susskind lifetime achievement award, describing his record of quality programs as “the standard all television producers strive for.”

Today, many showrunners credit Bochco as an influence, believing that the ongoing era of “Peak TV” would have been impossible to achieve without him.

“Steven Bochco sat with Jake Kasdan and myself before we started Freaks and Geeks and let us grill him for advice,” Tweeted Judd Apatow in response to this news.

“We used all of it.  He was a great man and will forever be an inspiration.”

Many other giants in the TV industry also passed along their thoughts on Twitter:

twitter reaction

Added former USA Today TV critic Robert Bianco:

 “If this is the Golden Age of television, Steven Bochco launched it and helped sustain it. Every great modern drama owes Hill Street a debt.

Bochco’s survivors include sister Joanna Frank, who portrayed Sheila Brackman, the wife of Douglas Brackman Jr. (her real-life husband Alan Rachins), on L.A. Law… his wife of 17 years, Dayna… kids Jesse, Sean and Melissa… and grandchildren Wes and Stevie Rae.

Our thoughts go out to his family members, friends and loved ones.

May Steven Bochco rest in peace.

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Legendary Pennsylvania Jockey Dies After Headfirst Fall in Horse Racing Accident

Jose Flores, a Pennsylvanian jockey who earned $ 64 MIL in his storied career, is dead at 56 after a headfirst fall during a race Monday in Philly. Flores suffered major head and spine injuries as a result of the accident … and was pulled off life…

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