From McCartney to Streisand to Oprah, the world mourns Aretha Franklin as ‘the queen of our souls’
Fans of legendary singer Aretha Franklin in Hollywood and beyond said little prayers of gratitude for the “Respect”-demanding singer, who died at age 76 on Thursday of advanced pancreatic cancer.
Music icons across genres — Diana Ross, Paul McCartney, Annie Lennox and Faith Hill — tweeted about her impact on their community and the void her death leaves behind.
Childhood friend Smokey Robinson, officials from her hometown of Detroit and the family of the late Otis Redding, whose version of “Respect” she flipped and made iconic, also mourned her loss.
Fledgling singers wrote of Franklin’s inspiration, and actors, athletes, politicians and more sent public condolences as news of Franklin’s death made morning headlines following days of concern about her failing health.
Here’s what they had to say on social media:
I’m sitting in prayer for the wonderful golden spirit Aretha Franklin.— Ms. Ross (@DianaRoss) August 16, 2018
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
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
I’m very sad to hear about Aretha Franklin passing. She was one of the greatest and most emotional singers. I used to love listening to her in the sixties but her music is timeless. Love & Mercy to Aretha’s family and friends. pic.twitter.com/fFVKyjxIXT— Brian Wilson (@BrianWilsonLive) August 16, 2018
She made me dance & sing. She gave me soul I didn't know I had. She will never not be in my life. Thank you. Rest in Peace brilliant Aretha— Sally Field (@sally_field) August 16, 2018
The choir of angels now have the greatest voice of all time to lead, praise and join in to sing before Jesus. I wanted to share this photo because it shows just how soulful Aretha was without uttering a word. To say I was humbled to be in her presence would be an understatement. pic.twitter.com/R2lxjXwDO8— Faith Hill (@FaithHill) August 16, 2018
Superlatives are often used to describe astonishing singers.. but in my view, even superlatives cannot be sufficient.— Annie Lennox (@AnnieLennox) August 16, 2018
Everyone who loved her will be saying little prayers of gratitude, respect and appreciation for the musical life force that enriched our lives (2/3)
This photo was taken in 2012 when Aretha & I performed at a tribute celebration for our friend Marvin Hamlisch. It’s difficult to conceive of a world without her. Not only was she a uniquely brilliant singer,but her commitment to civil rights made an indelible impact on the world pic.twitter.com/Px9zVB90MM— Barbra Streisand (@BarbraStreisand) August 16, 2018
May Aretha Franklin rest in peace. Growing up to her music was a blessing— Laurie Hernandez (@LaurieHernandez) August 16, 2018
The moment I wake up, before I put on my make up, I say a little prayer for you— Chance The Rapper Album in July (@chancetherapper) August 16, 2018
Just heard the sad news about Aretha Franklin—what a gift she was to all of us! Her legacy as the Queen of Soul is forever cemented in our history. And if we learned anything from her, it's that we should always treat people with R-E-S-P-E-C-T! Rest in peace, Miss Franklin.— Doug Jones (@DougJones) 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
Rip to one of the greatest of all time Aretha Franklin— Scooter Braun (@scooterbraun) August 16, 2018
Aretha Franklin. The Queen of Soul. A definer of our spirit as a people. I am truly beyond words.— Sherrilyn Ifill (@Sifill_LDF) 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
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
RIP Aretha Franklin what a voice x— Liam Gallagher (@liamgallagher) August 16, 2018
From the time that Dinah Washington 1st told me that Aretha was the “next one” when she was 12-years old, until the present day, Aretha Franklin set the bar & she did it with the professionalism, class, grace, & humility that only a true Queen could... 📸: Hassan pic.twitter.com/IjT6I7NH1D— Quincy Jones (@QuincyDJones) August 16, 2018
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
Aretha Franklin was an artistic genius and trailblazer whose gift to the world transcends time.— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) August 16, 2018
Long live the Queen of Soul as we pass her music on from generation to generation.
May she Rest In Peace.
We have lost one of the great artists of our time. Aretha Franklin was one of God’s precious gifts to the world—one of God’s shining jewels. She is deeply loved by millions of people as the Queen of Soul. Her voice is still a guiding light to vocalists today.— John Lewis (@repjohnlewis) August 16, 2018
Aretha Franklin's music inspired so many of us to speak out and be heard, and her powerful voice will never be forgotten. Sending my best wishes to her family, friends, and fans.— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) August 16, 2018
Aretha Franklin helped build the road that all minorities and women walk on today. She wasn’t just the Queen of Soul. She was an American Queen. Rest in love ❤️❤️❤️⛅️— Olivia Munn (@oliviamunn) August 16, 2018
YALL DONT UNDERSTAND WE JUST LOST THE QUEEN!! I WILL MISS YOU ARETHA FRANKLIN SO MANY NIGHTS YOUR MUSIC SAVED MY LIFE!! REST IN PEACE!!— Leslie Jones 🦋 (@Lesdoggg) August 16, 2018
Whether it was Gospel, Blues, Jazz, R&B, Pop,or Civil Rights, Aretha Franklin was the greatest gift and the voice of a generation. She could turn any song into a hymn. She will be greatly missed here on earth, but that band in heaven just got our Angel— Willie Nelson (@WillieNelson) August 16, 2018
Rest In Peace Aretha
Aretha Franklin is the reason why I sing from that part deep inside of me that few could ever reach. She was my favorite and will always be. What a gift she has left all of us with her musical footprints. There will never be another like her. She was truly special. #QueenOfSoul— Kelly Clarkson (@kellyclarkson) August 16, 2018
“Looking out on the morning rain— Ava DuVernay (@ava) August 16, 2018
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
The Lord has come to take my “Soul Sister” home. Aretha Franklin was a true Icon in Detroit and around the world. My prayers go out to the family during this time. Her legacy and friendship will forever be remembered-Martha Reeves 🌹— MARTHA REEVES (@MARTHAREEVESvan) August 16, 2018
Aretha Franklin showed us the way to the mountaintop of soul Thankyou queen we love you only forever— Ted Nugent (@TedNugent) August 16, 2018
Aretha Franklin – I want to thank her for her wonderful voice singing the theme song of “A Different World.” She made a big, strong positive impact on that series.— Bill Cosby (@BillCosby) August 16, 2018
Over Aretha Franklin's decades-long career, which included many years with the Sony Music family, she inspired countless musicians and fans, and created a legacy that paved the way for a long line of strong female artists. Sony Music joins the world in mourning her passing. pic.twitter.com/YPQp8DoLIh— Legacy Recordings (@SonyLegacyRecs) August 16, 2018
R.I.P to an all time G.O.A.T. Aretha Franklin!— Dennis Rodman (@dennisrodman) August 16, 2018
You showed me I could sing the songs I wanted to sing and bring God with me. You've inspired millions everywhere yet never left home, never left church. Today the entire world mourns your home-going and celebrates all the brilliance you left behind. pic.twitter.com/Ek0yHdXcRF— Mariah Carey (@MariahCarey) August 16, 2018
Rest In Peace to our Queen of Soul. Her contribution to music and to the empowerment and enrichment of our hearts, Spirits and souls is immeasurable.— Ms. Lauryn Hill (@MsLaurynHill) August 16, 2018
Thank you Ms. Aretha Franklin for sharing your anointed gifts with us. They changed the world. We are deeply grateful!
R * E * S * P * E * C * T— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) August 16, 2018
Aretha Franklin, RIP (1942 - 2018)
Aretha Franklin QUEEN of Soul, voice of a generation, one of a kind,took no crap+she didn't fly, she wore fur 2 an inauguration & dared someone2 say something,she is now in the pantheon of Gods greats,in the busom of family. She was my friend,condolences 2her family&2 us all pic.twitter.com/ax6h48S27g— Whoopi Goldberg (@WhoopiGoldberg) August 16, 2018
I’m so very saddened by the passing of Aretha Franklin. An American treasure. She was endlessly curious, so very funny, and will forever be the Queen of Soul.— Larry King (@kingsthings) August 16, 2018
.@NAACP presented the Vanguard Award to the iconic @ArethaFranklin back in 2008 for her role in advancing awareness of racial and social issues. Her music will continue to inspire us for generations and our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family. pic.twitter.com/JtIrnw016S— NAACP (@NAACP) August 16, 2018
I will forever remember my amazing time with you. Your temperament and character was of love, strength and pure beauty. Sending your family love and prayers as they get through this difficult time. RIP to the one and only Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin. 🙏🏽❤️ #legend #rip pic.twitter.com/qAq88jo0nh— TJ Jackson (@tjjackson) August 16, 2018
We all cry for the loss of Aretha Franklin. But the Queen of Soul will live with us forever.— Rob Reiner (@robreiner) August 16, 2018
“Hillary and I mourn the loss of our friend Aretha Franklin, one of America's greatest national treasures… She will forever be the Queen of Soul and so much more to all who knew her personally and through her music.” –Pres @BillClinton. https://t.co/uDFMAjCc7y pic.twitter.com/8K7UdPkCMV— Clinton Center (@ClintonCenter) August 16, 2018
"Happy memories of being with Aretha on movie sets and industry events. The Queen had a wry, skeptical eye on the world but once you got her laughing you were in. What a voice! What a soul. Angel choirs should prepare for increased rehearsal and discipline."— Dan Aykroyd (@dan_aykroyd) August 16, 2018
The Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, an ICON.Sang, played every genre of music.Broke barriers musically, socially, while unapologetically being a BLACK WOMAN from Detroit. Using her GOD given talents demanding respect one song at a time. Forever embedded in our lives. The Queen 👑 pic.twitter.com/kUkjOHXpcs— ledisi (@ledisi) August 16, 2018
Remember when Aretha Franklin sang an epic rendition of “My Country, Tis of Thee” at Obama’s inauguration and then a Springsteen cover band refused to show up at Trump’s?— Taran Killam (@TaranKillam) August 16, 2018
My grandmother had a record player for the blind and I’d blast Aretha’s Gold before I did my first play in 7th grade. I still listen between takes cuz it’s good luck and it’s everything you need-strength, vulnerability, joy, sorrow, sex, flow- and it’s not executed. It is ALIVE.— Bradley Whitford (@WhitfordBradley) August 16, 2018
Saddened to hear about the loss of Tennessee native Aretha Franklin. Her music and legacy has impacted countless lives from Memphis to Detroit and around the world. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family during this time.— Senator Bob Corker (@SenBobCorker) August 16, 2018
“Being the Queen is not all about singing, and being a diva is not all about singing. It has much to do with your service to people. And your social contributions to your community and your civic contributions as well.” ~Aretha Franklin pic.twitter.com/cBiYNYaydO— Roc Nation (@RocNation) August 16, 2018
Aretha Franklin was so much more than a great entertainer. She inspired. She gave hope. She was part of the soul of the civil rights movement. We won't see her like again.— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 16, 2018
So sorry to hear of Aretha Franklin's passing - the one and only Queen of Soul. She was a great lady, a great singer and a great inspiration to all. Here's a #tbt photo of us when she was my guest on "The Martha Stewart Television Show". We'll miss you, Aretha. pic.twitter.com/zK91lAXP3L— Martha Stewart (@MarthaStewart) August 16, 2018
3:20 p.m.: This story was updated with additional reactions.
11:35: a.m.: Story was updated with additional reactions.
10:10 a.m.: Story was updated with additional reactions.
This article was originally published at 8:45 a.m.
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Nardine Saad covers breaking entertainment news, trending culture topics, celebrities and their kin for the Los Angeles Times. She joined The Times in 2010 as a MetPro trainee and has reported from homicide scenes, flooded canyons, red carpet premieres and award shows.