Recognition And Grief
In 1987, Aretha received an incredible honor. She was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! “I have to say I never thought of myself as a rock ‘n’ roll singer,” Aretha told the New York Times. “Mostly I'm just a singer. That spans the whole realm of music.” Aretha's brother Cecil accepted the award on her behalf since Aretha was unable to attend the ceremony. Though she was pleased to be included in the Hall of Fame, she was needed at home. Carolyn Franklin had been diagnosed with terminal breast cancer.
Aretha and the entire Franklin family came together to support Carolyn as she battled cancer. Unfortunately, the disease was not detected until she was already quite ill, and she died on April 25, 1988. To add to the family's grief, Cecil Franklin was diagnosed with lung cancer the following year, and he passed away in December 1989. These were terrible losses for Aretha's close-knit family.