Hollywood stars and public figures on Thursday took to social media to pay tribute to Aretha Franklin. The iconic singer, known as the Queen of Soul, died Thursday morning at her home in Detroit following a battle with advanced pancreatic cancer. She was 76.
The accomplished singer was awarded 20 Grammys throughout her career, including the lifetime achievement award. She also was the first woman to be enshrined into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. Franklin sold over 75 million records worldwide during a career that spanned four decades.
“I’m absolutely devastated by Aretha’s passing. She was truly one of a kind. She was more than the Queen of Soul. She was a national treasure to be cherished by every generation throughout the world,” Clive Davis said in a statement. “Apart from our long professional relationship, Aretha was my friend. Her loss is deeply profound and my heart is full of sadness.”
Music Business Association president James Donio said in a statement that he recalled “the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be in the audience at the 1998 Grammy Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York when Aretha surprised everyone when she came onstage in place of Luciano Pavarotti, who had taken ill and could not perform. Aretha then proceeded to completely take the audience’s collective breath away as she majestically delivered her own unique rendition of ‘Nessun Dorma.’ People are still talking about that moment 20 years later.”
“We remember Aretha for the joy and love she brought into our lives and society via her powerful voice,” said NAACP chairman Leon W. Russell in a statement. “No one can discuss the civil rights movement nor music without paying respect to the Queen of Soul. We’ll miss her dearly.” Added NAACP president and CEO Derrick Johnson, “What would our struggle or American society be without the music of Aretha? Her unmitigated ‘Blackness’ and contributions to art and national progress places her on the Mt. Everest of American icons who changed this society for the better.”
“America has no royalty. But we do have a chance to earn something more enduring,” said Barack and Michelle Obama in a statement. “Every time she sang, we were all graced with a glimpse of the divine. Through her compositions and unmatched musicianship, 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. She helped us feel more connected to each other, more hopeful, more human. And sometimes she helped us just forget about everything else and dance.”
“Aretha may have passed on to a better place, but the gift of her music remains to inspire us all,” the statement continued. “May the Queen of Soul rest in eternal peace. Michelle and I send our prayers and warmest sympathies to her family and all those moved by her songs.”
“I’m heartbroken. Aretha Franklin was more than the Queen of Soul; she was my dear friend and a treasure to this world. Her voice was an inspiration to many. In fact, I remember Aretha singing and bringing President Obama to tears,” Judge Greg Mathis wrote on Twitter. “It was a privilege to know and have worked with Aretha many times giving back to Detroit, the city that we both loved dearly. She left me with many memories that I will cherish forever. The world loved her. I loved her. Her music and her legacy will live forever. Rest well my friend. Rest well.”
Andy Cohen praised Franklin’s talent and lasting legacy on Twitter. “There will never be another Queen of Soul. Aretha Franklin is the embodiment of a soul blessed with a special gift,” he wrote. “Grateful we have decades of recordings that will live on. Long Live The Queen.”
Liam Gallagher also paid tribute to Franklin on Twitter, writing, “RIP Aretha Franklin what a voice x.”
Hugh Jackman mourned Franklin’s death by reminiscing about “one of the highlights of my career” in which he performed with the singer 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,” he wrote on Twitter. Lea Thompson shared a similar memory of performing in the musical Cabaret with Franklin. “She was so gracious and kind. It was a highlight of my life,” she wrote.
The OWN Network announced Thursday that Franklin’s interview with Oprah Winfrey from 1999 will be re-aired on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET. During the interview, Franklin and Winfrey discuss the Queen of Soul’s career and personal life. The singer also performed a medley of “Think,” “Respect” and “Miss Clawdy Medley,” as well as “We Need Power.”
See what else Hollywood stars and other public figures are saying about Franklin’s death below.
RIP Aretha Franklin what a voice x
— Liam Gallagher (@liamgallagher) August 16, 2018
— Mike Epps (@TheRealMikeEpps) August 16, 2018
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
— Khary Payton (@kharypayton) August 16, 2018
— COLIN DONNELL (@colindonnell) August 16, 2018
RIP Aretha Franklin
— Gucci Mane (@gucci1017) August 16, 2018
RIP Aretha Franklin It was an honor to know you and be blessed my your spirit and your voice. You truly were the queen of soul. pic.twitter.com/L585yRXnfR
— Jared Sawyer Jr. (@JaredSawyerJr) August 16, 2018
Rest in power Aretha Franklin
— Mari Copeny (@LittleMissFlint) August 16, 2018
RIP Queen of Soul #ArethaFranklin. Yours is the first truly great singing voice I remember hearing as a kid by the radio. RESPECT to an absolute legend.
— Andy Mientus (@andymientus) August 16, 2018
— Carl Quintanilla (@carlquintanilla) August 16, 2018
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
— James Graham (@itsjamesgraham) August 16, 2018
Rest in heaven legendary songstress Aretha Franklin
— Ari Lennox (@AriLennox) August 16, 2018
RIP Aretha Franklin
Your music has touched many and will continue to
— louis (@LouisTheChild) August 16, 2018
this is truly a sad day. rest peacefully queen. icon. my sincere condolences to her family. #ArethaFranklin
— KELENDRIA ROWLAND (@KELLYROWLAND) August 16, 2018
Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, was an icon. She could steal any stage or any scene as she did in the “The Blues Brothers.” Rest in peace… https://t.co/elclxdF77q
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) August 16, 2018
RIP Aretha Franklin, a true great. Thank you for your music x
— James Arthur (@JamesArthur23) August 16, 2018
— Selenis Leyva (@selenis_leyva) August 16, 2018
— Eric Holder (@EricHolder) August 16, 2018
Rest In Power Aretha Franklin pic.twitter.com/rsRnI6km3R
— Duane Brown (@DuaneBrown76) August 16, 2018
Aretha Franklin… the Queen is gone. Long live the Queen!
— LeVar Burton (@levarburton) August 16, 2018
— Lea Thompson (@LeaKThompson) August 16, 2018
The Queen of Soul has left this earth to sit on her throne in heaven. How blessed we were to hear the best that God had to offer in her voice. RESPECT!
: Mark Seliger pic.twitter.com/v9OxtyrZ74
— Lenny Kravitz (@LennyKravitz) August 16, 2018
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
Salute to the Queen. The greatest vocalist I’ve ever known. #Aretha
— John Legend (@johnlegend) 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
I’m sitting in prayer for the wonderful golden spirit Aretha Franklin.
— Ms. Ross (@DianaRoss) August 16, 2018
— Billy Ray Cyrus (@billyraycyrus) August 16, 2018
— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) August 16, 2018
— Tamron Hall (@tamronhall) August 16, 2018
— Carole King (@Carole_King) August 16, 2018
— Tito Jackson (@titojackson) August 16, 2018
— towanda braxton (@towandabraxton) August 16, 2018
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
This photo was taken in 2012 when Aretha and 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.
A post shared by Barbra Streisand (@barbrastreisand) on
“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
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
— Lena Waithe (@LenaWaithe) August 16, 2018
Feeling overwhelmingly sad. Thank you Aretha Franklin for the gift of your voice and your soul. Rest in peace.
— Lester Holt (@LesterHoltNBC) August 16, 2018
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
RIP Aretha Franklin https://t.co/6iaZMmKn2N
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) August 16, 2018
We were privileged to hear your soul and will continue to be blessed by your immortal music. Rest peacefully and powerfully, immeasurable and unmatchable @ArethaFranklin.
— Ben Platt (@BenSPLATT) August 16, 2018
RIP Aretha Franklin. I will always know and be in awe of the power and beauty of your voice.
— roxane gay (@rgay) 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
RESPECT!!! REST IN PEACE AND POWER OUR TRUE QUEEN ARETHA FRANKLIN. IT WAS AN HONOR TO HAVE MET YOU AND WORKED WITH YOU #QUEENOFSOUL #ROYALTY #BLACKEXCELLENCEATITSBEST #LEGENDpic.twitter.com/RBIzD0dxaI
— Naomi Campbell (@NaomiCampbell) 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
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
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) August 16, 2018
For as long as I can remember, Aretha Franklin has been the absolute zenith, the guiding light, the master for any girl that aspired to sing or even just appreciated someone at the top of… https://t.co/80krP8ci0R
— Gloria Estefan (@GloriaEstefan) August 16, 2018
Oh queen oh queen how I cry to see you go. Like so many others I share the sadness of this loss. A true inspiration, a constant listen in my youth. I remember going deep into her B sides and live performances, always in awe of her ability. To discover the effortlessness of her gift, to take it in and experience the tones that shaped my love for singing. Her instrument like no other. Magic, pure magic. Thank you Aretha.
A post shared by Kate Hudson (@katehudson) on
Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul.. A true legend and world icon…the greatest vocalist and entertainer of all time. Aretha paved the way for so many great artists, over 6 decades of music. Thank you for all of your contributions. My condolences and prayers are with the family. pic.twitter.com/akEgX7sv1j
— Steve Harvey (@IAmSteveHarvey) 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
Rest In Peace Aretha
— Willie Nelson (@WillieNelson) August 16, 2018
— Britney Spears (@britneyspears) 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
Aretha Franklin. The Queen of Soul. The Icon. The ultimate singers’ singer. The greatest singer and musician of my lifetime. The power of your voice in music and in civil rights blew open the door for me and so many others. You were my inspiration, my mentor and my friend. pic.twitter.com/YDQL2zzgdM
— Mariah Carey (@MariahCarey) 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
We honor you @ArethaFranklin on your trip to the beyond and I wish your family and friends peace in times like these. Rest In Peace, Queen of “SOUL” always and forever.
— Zoe Saldana (@zoesaldana) August 16, 2018
From the moment I saw her tell the Blues Brothers to “Think” Aretha Franklin was my Queen of Soul. I once dressed in drag as a PMRC activist in a high school sketch to belt out “Respect.” She had the voice of God. Sad to see the icon has gone but relieved she left us her music. https://t.co/N0WXueB0So
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) August 16, 2018
I’m heartbroken. @ArethaFranklin was more than the Queen of Soul; she was my dear friend. She left me with many memories that I will cherish forever. The world loved her. I loved her. Her music and her legacy will live forever. Rest well my friend. Rest well. pic.twitter.com/gahgyBzrmi
— Judge Greg Mathis (@JudgeGregMathis) August 16, 2018
There will never be another Aretha Franklin. We love you, Queen. RIP
— Sheryl Crow (@SherylCrow) August 16, 2018
Watching Aretha Franklin perform at the White House, and on so many other occasions, made time stand still. @BarackObama and I are holding Aretha’s family in our hearts right now. She will forever be our Queen of Soul. pic.twitter.com/NhHsbKijpl
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) August 16, 2018
Aretha Franklin’s anthem of equality echoed around the world, inspiring activists, advocates, and ordinary people with her message that each one of us deserves to be valued and heard. She was an icon who used her voice to encourage us to raise our own. https://t.co/YOwvkF3wwF
— Melinda Gates (@melindagates) August 16, 2018
This is the face of a young man who couldn’t believe he was actually singing with the GREATEST OF ALL TIME. Thank you, Ms. Franklin for blessing us with your incomparable gift. Honored to have shared the stage with you even for a moment. Always bowing down to you. #QueenofSoul pic.twitter.com/4bZVAWcqeS
— Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) August 16, 2018
I’m saddened to learn that Aretha Franklin has passed.The most soulful and inspirational singer of our time. / Je suis attristée d’apprendre le décès d’Aretha Franklin. La chanteuse la plus inspirante de notre époque. – Céline xx…
: Kevin Mazur https://t.co/3Tz7G2W205 pic.twitter.com/Q5DtmJ1IVa
— Celine Dion (@celinedion) August 16, 2018
All my love to the Queen of Soul. Aretha Franklin paved the way for so many of us in music. Her voice & legacy will never be forgotten. pic.twitter.com/HbLnVTVaTu
— Usher Raymond IV (@Usher) August 16, 2018
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) August 16, 2018
Amidst all the vitriol and rancor surrounding us… today, thinking about Aretha, listening to her music, it helps us transcend to a higher place. A more honest place. Her voice feels like we’re being hugged. Rest now, Ms. Franklin. The Queen of Soul will help cleanse our souls.
— Bryan Cranston (@BryanCranston) August 16, 2018
rest in power Queen your legacy will never be forgotten pic.twitter.com/NOQy7E2CdY
— Snoop Dogg (@SnoopDogg) August 16, 2018
Been listening to this for the past couple of days. What an amazing illustration of the spirit that is @ArethaFranklin
Listen to this, look up to the stars and know she is with the Master now.https://t.co/tjxCIzmciX
— Pharrell Williams (@Pharrell) 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
Aretha Franklin was an artistic genius and trailblazer whose gift to the world transcends time.
Long live the Queen of Soul as we pass her music on from generation to generation.
May she Rest In Peace.
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) August 16, 2018
Aretha, your music set a standard for every single lady in this industry to rise to. You have touched minds, hearts and spirits, including my own. I pray you have a smooth journey Ree Ree and hopefully I’ll get to sing with you in the Heavenly choir. Love you #QueenOfSoul pic.twitter.com/Rrw6JjDtCg
— Gladys Knight (@MsGladysKnight) August 16, 2018
— Lionel Richie (@LionelRichie) August 16, 2018
I’ve had so many influences in my life, and one of them is the Queen of Soul. Rest In Peace, Aretha. I’ll sing this one for you. https://t.co/GcwwWioHsl
— Reba (@reba) 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
— Smokey Robinson (@smokey_robinson) 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
Aretha was such a timeless inspiration to me and so many others, the ultimate queen, thank you for the gift of your voice, music and unshakeable soul pic.twitter.com/me3FXBY4WZ
— Christina Aguilera (@xtina) August 16, 2018
Today we have lost one of the greatest. She will always be remembered and admired. Aretha Franklin, rest in peace. We love you.
— Ricky Martin (@ricky_martin) 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
— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) August 16, 2018
Rest in Peace Aretha Franklin. Her voice inspired and touched so many and will live on forever. pic.twitter.com/s4kjaDRCig
— Ashley Tisdale (@ashleytisdale) August 16, 2018