Aretha Franklin, known as the “Queen of Soul”, has been remembered as an “inspiration”, “a rare treasure” and “one of the all time greats” in the tributes that have poured in after her death.
The cultural icon, whose 1967 signature song, “Respect”, became a rallying cry for the US civil rights movement, passed away in Detroit, Michigan on Thursday morning after battling advanced pancreatic cancer.
“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,” Franklin’s family said in a statement. “We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family,” he said.
Leading civil rights leader, Jesse Jackson, who visited Franklin earlier this week, tweeted: “A lot of music left the earth today. The Heavens rejoice. Rest in heavenly peace.”
— Rev Jesse Jackson Sr (@RevJJackson) August 16, 2018
Bernice King, the youngest daughter of Martin Luther King Jr, said on Twitter that beyond having a “tremendous singing voice”, Franklin was a “voice of the Civil Rights Movement” and an “instrument”.
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) August 16, 2018
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) August 16, 2018
Franklin was a friend of the late King, singing an emotional “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” at his funeral service in 1968.
Aretha Franklin’s contributions toward the civil rights movement shouldn’t go unnoticed. She helped activists post bail, supported organizers financially, toured with MLK across the U.S. #ArethaFranklin pic.twitter.com/lV7QpwjyPL
— Philip Lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) August 16, 2018
Franklin also sang at the 2009 inauguration of former President Barack Obama, who described her as someone who “helped define the American experience”.
“America has no royalty,” Obama said in a statement after Franklin’s death. “But we do have a chance to earn something more enduring,” he added.
“For more than six decades … every time she sang, we were all graced with a glimpse of the divine … In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every share – our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect.”
|Franklin’s music career last for more than six decades [Val Wilmer/Redferns/Getty Images]|
Artists share their memories
Dozens of artists, many of whom performed with Franklin over the years, took to Twitter to share their condolences and memories of the global icon.
Fellow American singer, Patti LaBelle, said 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,” LaBelle tweeted.
Rest in peace Aretha. ❤ pic.twitter.com/QT7HeY5SIf
— Patti LaBelle (@MsPattiPatti) August 16, 2018
Barbra Streisand shared a photo of her and Franklin from 2012, tweeting: “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.”
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
Following Franklin’s death, Diana Ross simply wrote on Twitter: “I’m sitting in prayer for the wonderful golden spirit Aretha Franklin.”
I’m sitting in prayer for the wonderful golden spirit Aretha Franklin.
— Ms. Ross (@DianaRoss) August 16, 2018
Beatles star Paul McCartney gave thanks for Franklin and her work.
“She will be missed but the memory of her greatness as a musician and a fine human being will live with us forever,” he tweeted.
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
Other stars, including Elton John, John Legend, and Bette Midler also took to Twitter to remember the Queen of Soul.
‘Thanks for getting me through the tough days’
Franklin’s fans flooded social media with tributes, many describing the effect her music had on their lives.
“Thank you Aretha Franklin for getting me through tough days,” Twitter user, Pablo, said.
it breaks my heart logging into my laptop today and reading the news. thank you Aretha Franklin for getting me through tough days by listening to your music. “Forever, forever, you’ll stay in my heart.” #QueenOfSoul
— Pablo (@IrisNight100) August 16, 2018
Another user, Lady_C, also thanked Franklin “for being a blessing in my life and brightening the darkness that was there”.
First time I heard her song RESPECT I sang it every day for weeks on end, my mum got so irritated with me.
Well I learnt how to spell Respect! 😉
Thank you Aretha Franklin for being a blessing in my life and brightening the darkness that was there.
RIP Queen of Soul!
— Lady_C💜 (@Rogue_Aurora) August 16, 2018
In Detroit, some left balloons and flowers outside of New Bethel Baptist Church, where Franklin’s father was once a pastor. The church had held a vigil earlier this week when reports surfaced the singer was gravely ill.
“We’re asking you to touch the Queen of Soul,” New Bethel’s pastor said during a Tuesday vigil, according to the Detroit News.
|Many left balloons and flowers outside Detroit’s New Bethel Baptist Church [Tom Szypulski/Al Jazeera]|
In New York City, fans turned the Franklin Street subway stop into a memorial for the icon.
People turned the Franklin Street subway stop in NYC into a makeshift memorial for the late Aretha Franklin. pic.twitter.com/CmT00mdS1n
— AJ (@ajplus) August 16, 2018
Others shared their favourite songs.
I Say a Little Prayer is one of my favorite songs ever. RIP Aretha Franklin 😭
— Niki (@NikiRussellxx) August 16, 2018
my favorite Christmas song is Joy to the World by Aretha Franklin. I’m so sad. 😭
— Allie ⚡️🌵🦄 (@_alliereichert) August 16, 2018
“Rocky Steady” is hands down my Favorite Aretha Franklin Song. This instrumental, the soul-injected delivery complete with call & response…
Poignant, Inspirational and Groundbreaking
RIP Queen of Soul https://t.co/FBGcphMgfz
— Tony Bro (@ToneQapo) August 16, 2018
A good way to tell what a unique talent Aretha Franklin was is that everyone has a different favorite performance to post today.
— Greg B. (@SupposedlyFun) August 16, 2018