Tributes pour in for Queen of soul Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin
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The death of 76-year-old music icon Aretha Franklin prompted figures across the spectrum, from politics to pop, to pay homage to her tremendous influence on American culture.

Barbra Streisand tweeted, “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.”

Diana Ross tweeted, “I’m sitting in prayer for the wonderful golden spirit Aretha Franklin,” the disco and soul star tweeted.

Mariah Carey tweeted, “The Queen of Soul. The Icon. The ultimate singers’ singer. The power of your voice in music and in civil rights blew open the door for me and so many others.”

The Queen of Soul has died at the age of 76. The legendary singer and performer was reported to be gravely ill and receiving hospice care at her home in Detroit earlier this week.

A statement from her family said she passed away on Thursday morning surrounded by family and loved ones, confirming that her official cause of death was advanced pancreatic cancer.

The American icon was a shadow of her former self at her final performance in New York in November 2017.

She underwent surgery in 2010 and since then had regular health concerns often canceling concerts – including two in New Jersey last March.

Franklin performed at a concert to inaugurate Nelson Mandela International Day in 2009.

“I can imagine Mr Mandela, as a younger man and perhaps his mother or his former wife, Ms Winnie Mandela may have said this to him … Go out and tell the story.”

Regarded as one of the giants of soul music, Franklin won 18 Grammy awards including a lifetime achievement award.

She became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

Rolling Stone listed her as one of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time and the 100 Greatest Singers of All time.

She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005 – the highest honour given to a civilian in the United States.

And she was one of the best-selling musical artists of all time having sold 75 million albums worldwide.

“Well, it’s always wonderful when you can make a contribution and you can help people help people. So, I love that, yes, that’s what I’m about.”

She performed at the inauguration of former President Barack Obama in 2009 and was a regular feature at White House concerts right until the end of his presidency.

“Mr President, in your departure from the oval office, I just wanted to say I appreciated you so much and thank you so much for your leadership, of we the people … all of the people.”

Franklin achieved commercial success with songs such as Respect Spanish Harlem and this classic performed at the Kennedy Center Honours in 2015.

President Donald Trump tweeted that Aretha Franklin was a great woman with a wonderful gift from God.

Former first families Bill and Hillary Clinton called her one of America’s greatest national treasures who for more than 50 years stirred our souls while Barack and Michelle Obama said Aretha helped define the American experience. A tribute concert under the leadership of famed producer Clive Davis is already in the works for November at Madison Square Garden in Big Apple. A statement from Franklin’s family says funeral arrangements will be announced in the coming days. – additional reporting by AFP