Diana Ross, Patti LaBelle and Others Pay Their ‘R.E.S.P.E.C.T’ to the Iconic Aretha Franklin

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As we previously reported, Aretha Franklin, The Queen of Soul, has passed away at the age of 76 from pancreatic cancer.

Within minutes of the news, people from the entertainment and political world reacted, including President Barack Obama who said Franklin was the voice of an entire nation. The legendary singer sung “America (My Country ‘Tis of Thee)” at Obama’s 2009 inauguration.

Celebrities React To Aretha Franklin's Passing
Wikimedia Commons

“Aretha helped define the American experience,” tweeted Obama. “In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade — our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect. May The Queen of Soul rest in eternal peace.”

Others who reacted include Diana Ross, John Legend, Missy Elliott, Ava Duvernay and Patti LaBelle, who said Franklin’s music was a huge part of day-to-day life.

“I am deeply saddened about the passing of The Queen of Soul and my sister in song, Aretha Franklin,” wrote LaBelle. “Today the world has experienced a tremendous loss. Aretha was a rare treasure whose unmatched musical genius helped craft the soundtrack to the lives of so many. My sympathy, love and prayers go out to her family, loved ones and fans around the globe.”

The sports teams in Franklin’s hometown of Detroit also responded to the sad news. The Detroit Tigers, for example, lit up a sign in Comerica Park with her photo and the word “Respect” written out. Plus, the Detroit Lions, the Pistons, basketball legend Isiah Thomas and ESPN’s Jemele Hill all sent tweets.

In addition, a rep for the Motown Museum announced they’ll start paying tribute to the singer by playing her music from Aug.17-19. Motown’s founder Berry Gordy also spoke of Franklin’s passing and said even though she wasn’t part of the Motown roster, she was part of the family. 

“A national treasure to everyone,” he said in a statement. “But to me personally, Aretha Franklin was my dear, dear friend, my homegirl and I loved her a lot. From seeing her as a baby singing and playing at the piano at her father’s home, to her giving a rousing performance at the White House, she has always been amazing.”

“No matter how the music has changed over the years, she remained so relevant,” added Gordy. “Though never signed to Motown, Aretha was considered part of my family. We always shared fond memories of the Motor City, life and just things.”

You can see other celebrity reactions below.

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