Aretha Franklin died in August 2018 at age 76

By Karen Mizoguchi
April 15, 2019 07:50 PM

The Queen of Soul has made history!

On Monday, Aretha Franklin was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize Special Citation honor, becoming the first individual woman to earn a special citation prize since it was first awarded in 1930.

Franklin’s honor was announced as one of the 2019 Pulitzer Prizes for Arts, Drama and Music, with the late singer being acknowledged “for her indelible contribution to American music and culture for more than five decades.”

Since 1930, 41 people and institutions have been awarded special citations from the Pulitzer Prize Board. Franklin joins previous Special Citation honorees such as Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Scott Joplin and John Coltrane.

RELATED: Inside the Amazing, Private Life of Aretha Franklin

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Franklin died in August 2018 at age 76 following a years-long battle with advance pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type.

A musical phenomenon who crossed musical, racial and gender barriers, Franklin began her vocal career as a teenager, singing gospel hymns in her father’s Detroit church. From these humble beginnings she scaled to the very heights of stardom, scoring her first national chart-topper in 1967 with a searing version of Otis Redding’s “Respect.”

Since then, Franklin notched 77 Hot 100 chart entries, and earned an astounding 18 Grammys out of 44 nominations.

RELATED: Remember Aretha Franklin with the Queen of Soul’s Top 10 Greatest Songs

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The music legend has previously shattered glass ceilings with her music and career.

In 1987, two decades after her first No. 1, Franklin became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and was later named the Greatest Singer of All Time by Rolling Stone.

She was also honored with the National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005 by George W. Bush.

Franklin’s life and legacy are also highlighted in the documentary, Amazing Grace.