Stars react to Aretha Franklin's death

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Celebrities and prominent figures paid tribute to Aretha Franklin, the “Queen of Soul,” who died Thursday after grappling with serious illness. The family said that the cause of death was advanced pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type.

Franklin’s prolific career spanned six decades and included hit songs like “Respect,” “A Natural Woman” and “I Say a Little Prayer.” Even in her 70s, she was still performing. Franklin was known not just for her musical talent, but also for her messages of female empowerment. 

Within minutes after news of her death, tributes to the powerful singer started pouring in from musicians, actors, producers, high-profile executives, political figures and others.

Her contemporary, Patti LaBelle, said Franklin was a “rare treasure whose unmatched musical genius helped craft the soundtrack to the lives of so many.”

Rest in peace Aretha. ❤ pic.twitter.com/QT7HeY5SIf

— Patti LaBelle (@MsPattiPatti) August 16, 2018

Elton John remembered Franklin’s last performance at his AIDS Foundation Fall Gala in November and said he wasn’t sure if she’d be able to perform because she was “obviously unwell.” However, the diva powered through, John said: “She sang and played magnificently, and we all wept. We were witnessing the greatest soul artist of all time.”

She sang and played magnificently, and we all wept. We were witnessing the greatest soul artist of all time. I adored her and worshipped her talent. God bless her. My condolences to all her family and friends. We shared the same birthday – and that meant so much to me.

— Elton John (@eltonofficial) August 16, 2018

Diana Ross said she was praying for her fellow diva. 

I’m sitting in prayer for the wonderful golden spirit Aretha Franklin.

— Ms. Ross (@DianaRoss) August 16, 2018

Both of the living Beatles remembered Franklin on Twitter. 

Let’s all take a moment to give thanks for the beautiful life of Aretha Franklin, the Queen of our souls, who inspired us all for many many years. She will be missed but the memory of her greatness as a musician and a fine human being will live with us forever. Love Paul pic.twitter.com/jW4Gpwfdts

— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) August 16, 2018

God bless Aretha Franklin the queen of soul and peace and love to her family 😎✌️🌟💖🎵🎶☮️

— #RingoStarr (@ringostarrmusic) August 16, 2018

Former President Barack Obama, who was moved to tears during her 2015 Kennedy Center performance of “A Natural Woman,” said the singer “helped define the American experience.”

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

President Donald Trump said the singer “will be missed.”

The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, is dead. She was a great woman, with a wonderful gift from God, her voice. She will be missed!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 16, 2018

John Legend called her “the greatest vocalist” he’s ever known. 

Salute to the Queen. The greatest vocalist I’ve ever known. 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽 #Aretha

— John Legend (@johnlegend) August 16, 2018

Tony Bennett remembered singing with her on his 85th birthday. 

It was a double thrill for me to perform on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera on my 85th birthday and have the Queen of Soul (and heart) Aretha Franklin singing with me….she will be missed by the world. pic.twitter.com/74VM9IYejI

— Tony Bennett (@itstonybennett) August 16, 2018

Lin-Manuel Miranda said he felt lucky he got to see her perform “exactly once.”

Lucky enough to have seen Aretha live exactly once, and this was it.
Thank you for the music, we will be listening to you forever https://t.co/aMHIBFaTAs

— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) August 16, 2018

Rev. Al Sharpton, a friend of Franklin’s, asked people to take a pause to remember the singer. 

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

Producer Shonda Rhimes tweeted a video of Franklin’s aforementioned Kennedy Center performance from 2015.  

Aretha Franklin (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman – Kennedy Center… https://t.co/T4MENufJVz via @YouTube

— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) August 16, 2018

Hillary Clinton said Franklin deserves “lasting gratitude” for the impact of her art. 

Mourning the loss today of @ArethaFranklin who shared her spirit and talent with the world. She deserves not only our RESPECT but also our lasting gratitude for opening our eyes, ears and hearts. Rest in eternal peace, my friend.

— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 16, 2018

Director Ava DuVernay called her “peerless.”

“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

Actress and singer Bette Midler called Franklin “the greatest voice in American popular music” and her own “musical lighthouse.”

The greatest voice in American popular music has been stilled. Our beloved #ArethaFranklin has gone. For me, she was a musical lighthouse, guiding and inspiring with every note. I loved her so and love her still. Goodbye, Queen of Soul.

— Bette Midler (@BetteMidler) August 16, 2018

Missy Elliott says she imagines Franklin in heaven, “still making people souls move.” 

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

Bravo host and producer Andy Cohen highlighted Franklin’s vocal talent and said, “Aretha Franklin is the embodiment of a soul blessed with a special gift. Grateful we have decades of recordings that will live on. Long Live The Queen.”

There will never be another Queen of Soul. Aretha Franklin is the embodiment of a soul blessed with a special gift. Grateful we have decades of recordings that will live on. Long Live The Queen. #RIPAretha

— Andy Cohen (@Andy) August 16, 2018

Hugh Jackman said that one of his career highlights was performing with Franklin at the Tony Awards, which he called “an out of body experience.” 

One of the highlights of my career was singing with #ArethaFranklin at The Tony Awards. It was an out of body experience for me. One of greatest singers of all time. You will be missed by all. https://t.co/L8dIIhyR9Y

— Hugh Jackman (@RealHughJackman) August 16, 2018

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi pointed out that Franklin took part in some of the nation’s biggest moments. 

Our love & prayers are with the family & loved ones of the beloved Queen of Soul. From Dr. King’s funeral to President Obama’s inauguration, @ArethaFranklin touched the soul of our nation, and the world. Her loss will be deeply felt by all. pic.twitter.com/1j5N2uk5Lr

— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) August 16, 2018

Apple CEO Tim Cook said that Franklin’s talent uplifted people around the world.

We mourn the passing of Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul. Her voice will keep lifting us, through the music she gave the world. Our thoughts are with her family, her loved ones and fans everywhere. Take her hand, precious Lord, and lead her home. 🎶 pic.twitter.com/I84HTEVZU1

— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) August 16, 2018

Deeply sad this morning. Aretha Franklin has left us and her blessed family. She Lifted up the best angels of our nature. May her legacy of truth, love, hope, and joy live on in all of us.

— Goldie Hawn (@goldiehawn) August 16, 2018

One of the greatest voices of all time has been silenced. My dear friend Aretha Franklin has passed. Even though her music will live on forever, the sound, the voice, and the inspiration of the Queen of Soul can never be matched. Farewell, Aretha.

— Maxine Waters (@RepMaxineWaters) August 16, 2018

Hearing the news of her passing has left me in tears but I’m grateful to God that I got to share this smile with her. Thank you Aretha Franklin for leaving such an incredible legacy for generations among generations to stand on. May you Rest In Peace. 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/S9c9po1z3j

— Danielle Brooks (@thedanieb) August 16, 2018

She made millions feel like natural women, and she earned our everlasting Respect with each performance. May Aretha Franklin’s voice ring now throughout the heavens. She truly was the Queen of Soul. Rest In Peace, o great one.

— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) August 16, 2018

Rest In Peace to one of the greats, Aretha Franklin. For all you’ve done, a grateful world thanks you.

— Lea Salonga (@MsLeaSalonga) August 16, 2018

She was music.
Soul, grace and respect!#ArethaFranklin #Musicares2008 #RIP pic.twitter.com/74qBbch99a

— John Stamos (@JohnStamos) August 16, 2018

Aretha Franklin… the Queen is gone. Long live the Queen!

— LeVar Burton (@levarburton) August 16, 2018

We lost a giant. #ArethaFranklin

— Jeff Daniels (@Jeff_Daniels) August 16, 2018

Thank you Aretha. Aretha Franklin Sings “America, The Beautiful” for Eric Holder’s Farewell https://t.co/xUFD3MYN3m via @YouTube

— Eric Holder (@EricHolder) August 16, 2018

RIP Aretha Franklin what a voice x

— Liam Gallagher (@liamgallagher) 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

RIP Aretha Franklin

— Gucci Mane (@gucci1017) August 16, 2018

R.I.P. Aretha Franklin Queen Of Soul 🙏🏿

— juicy j (@therealjuicyj) August 16, 2018

Rest In Peace to the Queen #ArethaFranklin #QueenofSoul 🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/99aDN8UfSO

— Mike Epps (@TheRealMikeEpps) August 16, 2018

An unbelievable woman and voice. It was an honor to meet and perform with the Queen of Soul. RIP Aretha Franklin ❤️💔https://t.co/BQBtdPuoZO

— Shania Twain (@ShaniaTwain) August 16, 2018

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