Home ENTERTAINMENT Aretha Franklin: Tributes flow in for Queen of Soul

Aretha Franklin: Tributes flow in for Queen of Soul

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Aretha Franklin

Tributes are pouring in from the worlds of entertainment and politics for Aretha Franklin, the US singer known as the Queen of Soul, who died on Thursday at 76.

Her family confirmed her death had been due to advance pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type.

Franklin performed at inauguration events for three US presidents and was a powerful advocate for the civil rights movement.

“For more than 50 years, she stirred our souls,” Bill and Hillary Clinton said in a joint statement.

Barack Obama said her music had “helped define the American Experience.”

Remembered for hits like Respect and I Say A Little Prayer, Franklin won 18 Grammys and had 17 Top Ten US chart hits over a musical career spanning seven decades.

She was diagnosed with cancer in 2010, and announced last year she was retiring from music.

The singer died at her home in Detroit surrounded by family and loved ones, her family said in a statement.

In 2005, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W Bush, when she was saluted for “capturing the hearts of millions of Americans.”

She was “one of America’s greatest national treasures,” the Clintons said. “She was elegant, graceful, and utterly uncompromising in her artistry.”

Former President Barack Obama said in a joint statement with his wife Michelle: “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.”

The current President, Donald Trump, tweeted that Franklin had been a “great woman, with a wonderful gift from God, her voice.”

The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) said Franklin had made sure “black women wouldn’t be ignored.”

The singer was praised by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) as an “iconic symbol of black pride whose music touched so many hearts and souls.”

Civil rights leader Al Sharpton said he was “deeply saddened by the passing of a beloved friend and queen/warrior” while fellow civil rights figure Jesse Jackson remarked, “Earth has lost a lot of music today.”

Nasa, the US space agency, noted that the asteroid bearing her name would keep on orbiting.

In a statement announcing her death, her family said:  “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 gave her final performance last November at a gala in New York held in aid of the Elton John Aids Foundation.

 

 

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