Aretha Franklin Rest In Peace At 76
Tributes are pouring in from the worlds of entertainment and politics for Aretha Franklin, the US singer known as the Queen of Soul, who has died at 76.
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.”
Mr 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”.