Celebrities across the world are reacting to the news of Aretha Franklin’s death. The “Queen of Soul” died at age 76 after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer. She died in hospice care in Detroit Thursday morning.
Franklin died about 9:50 a.m. at her home, publicist Gwendolyn Quinn told The Associated Press. News that Franklin had fallen ill spread like wildfire last Sunday, after it was first reported that she was gravely ill and near death.
Quinn told The Associated Press through a family statement that Franklin passed Thursday morning. The statement said “Franklin’s official cause of death was due to advanced pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, which was confirmed by Franklin’s oncologist, Dr. Philip Phillips of Karmanos Cancer Institute.”
The family added: “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. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds.”
Franklin was a musical legend, and loved by millions. Her music influenced thousands of musicians and performers who came after her. Celebrities like Barbra Streisand and John Legend wrote emotional tributes to the Queen of Soul after news of her death broke on social media.
“Salute to the Queen. The greatest vocalist I’ve ever known,” John Legend wrote.
“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,” wrote Streisand.
Franklin, an 18-time Grammy winner, sold more than 75 million album copies during her career. She is known for top hits including “Respect,” “I Say A Little Prayer,” “Think” and “Chain of Fools.”
Elton John wrote a posted a series of heartfelt tweets to Franklin, with a picture of the “Respect” singer adorning his wall.
His tribute continued: “I was fortunate enough to spend time with her and witness her last performance – a benefit for [@ejaf] at St John The Divine Cathedral. She was obviously unwell, and I wasn’t sure she could perform. But Aretha did and she raised the roof.
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.”
More tributes flooded social media, with thousands of celebrities and fans remembering how much she changed their lives, how influential her music was, and how deeply they looked up to her.
Paul McCartney wrote: “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.”
Hugh Jackman posted a video of the two singing together at the Tony Awards, a performance he considered an “out of body experience.”
Several politicians also chimed in, giving thanks to Franklin for all she did for civil rights in America, and the beauty she spread across the globe.
“Mourning the loss today of [Aretha Franklin] 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 wrote.
Franklin sang at the inaugurations of Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Former President George W. Bush awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her impact on America’s cultural landscape in 2005.
“Her instantly recognizable voice has captivated listeners ever since she toured with her father’s gospel revue in the 1950s,” Bush said at the time. “She is among our Nation’s greatest musical artists and has captured the hearts of millions of Americans.”
“I’ll always be grateful for her kindness and support, including her performances at both my inaugural celebrations,” said Bill Clinton.
Other celebrity reactions include Stephen King, Kevin Bacon, LeAnn Rimes, Tim Cook, Clive Davis, Bette Midler and so many more.
“We mourn the passing of Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul,” Cook tweeted. “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.”
“There Will never be another,” Bernadette Peters declared. “Thank you for giving us all of you!!”