Aretha Franklin has been posthumously awarded the Pulitzer prize.

The 'I Say A Little Prayer' hitmaker - who passed away last year at the age of 76 after a battle with pancreatic cancer - has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize Special Citation for her contribution to American music and culture. Aretha is also the first individual woman to earn this special citation since it was started in 1930.

Aretha died in August 2018 and her untimely passing was confirmed from the singer's long-time publicist Gwendolyn Quinn.

She said in a statement: ''Franklin's official cause of death was due to advance pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, which was confirmed by Franklin's oncologist, Dr. Philip Phillips of Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit ... In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family.''

In the days before her passing, Aretha's publicist had stated that the ''love and support'' the music icon and her family had received from fans when news of her serious illness came out had been a great comfort to her and her family.

Gwendolyn said: ''Aretha Franklin has been the matriarch of the Franklin family since the passing of all of her siblings. The love she has for her family is above reproach and was evident in the warm smiles she was able to share with her nephew during his very brief visit two weeks ago. She is seriously ill and surrounded by family members who appreciate the outpouring of love and support they have received.''