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.
“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.
Aretha helped define the American experience. 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. pic.twitter.com/bfASqKlLc5
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 16, 2018
Salute to the Queen. The greatest vocalist I've ever known. 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽 #Aretha
— John Legend (@johnlegend) August 16, 2018
I’m sitting in prayer for the wonderful golden spirit Aretha Franklin.
— Ms. Ross (@DianaRoss) August 16, 2018
— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) August 16, 2018
Deeply saddened by the passing of a beloved friend and queen/warrior Aretha Franklin. Her contributions are legendary both personally and societally. We hope you take a pause today to remember the life of a beautiful soul. pic.twitter.com/ce4ht2g0ha
— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) August 16, 2018
“Looking out on the morning rain
I used to feel so uninspired
And when I knew
I had to face another day
Lord, it made me feel so tired
Before the day I met you
Life was so unkind
But you’re the key to
My peace of mind.”
Her voice/swagger was peerless.
Thank you, #ArethaFranklin pic.twitter.com/5gp0OP10Jf
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) August 16, 2018
Rest easy #ARETHAFRANKLIN I imagine u in heaven performing & still making people souls move🙌🏾 this was my aunt favorite record #RockSteady you will always be the Queen of Soul you been that before many of us were born! Thank you for giving us LEGENDARY TIMELESS music 🙏🏾❤️ pic.twitter.com/bEueBCLGJ9
— Missy Elliott (@MissyElliott) August 16, 2018
Aretha Franklin… the Queen is gone. Long live the Queen!
— LeVar Burton (@levarburton) August 16, 2018
Aretha Franklin was an incredible gift to the world. Her magical music and spirit will stay with us always, as well as with generations to come.
— Valerie Jarrett (@ValerieJarrett) August 16, 2018
— Mike Epps (@TheRealMikeEpps) August 16, 2018
R.I.P. Aretha Franklin Queen Of Soul 🙏🏿
— juicy j (@therealjuicyj) August 16, 2018
RIP Aretha Franklin
— Gucci Mane (@gucci1017) August 16, 2018
The Queen of Soul has left this earth to sit on her throne in heaven. How blessed we were to hear the best that God had to offer in her voice. RESPECT!
📷: Mark Seliger pic.twitter.com/v9OxtyrZ74
— Lenny Kravitz (@LennyKravitz) August 16, 2018
Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Aretha Franklin.
Aretha was a groundbreaker and an icon whose legacy will live on forever. pic.twitter.com/dmYrfpDOjC
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) August 16, 2018