Celebrities pay tribute to Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin

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Fellow American singer, Patti LaBelle, said the "world has experienced a tremendous loss". Though never signed to Motown, Aretha was considered part of my family.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said few people in the city's history had been as universally loved or had left as indelible a mark as Franklin, describing her as a "performer without peers". The official cause of death was advanced pancreatic cancer. "We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family", a statement released by Franklin's family read. "The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds", Franklin's family said. "As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this hard time", the family's statement continued.

"She will be missed!" he tweeted of the legendary singer, who died at home in Detroit at age 76.

Aretha had dealt with numerous health issues in recent years, leading to her announcing her retirement in February 2017. I was fortunate enough to spend time with her and witness her last performance - a benefit for the Elton John Aids Foundation at St John The Divine Cathedral.

A professional singer by her late teens and a superstar by her mid-20s, Franklin had long ago settled any arguments over who was the greatest popular vocalist of her time. Her father, Rev. C.L. Franklin, was a pastor whose services were broadcasted in various television markets.

Aretha Louise Franklin sold over 75 million records over her career, won 18 Grammy awards, and was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. She made worldwide headlines in 2008, when she sang "My Country 'Tis of Thee" during President Barack Obama's inauguration.

Credit PA
Credit PA

Perhaps her most breathtaking performance took place at the 1998 Grammy Awards, when Franklin was called upon to fill in for an ailing Luciano Pavarotti and deliver the stirring aria "Nessun Dorma" from Puccini's Turandot.

Tributes to the Queen of Soul from celebrity fans rolled in on social media.

She may be most famously known for songs like "Respect" and 'Think"-which she memorably performed in the 1980s Chicago based film 'The Blues Brothers".

Her most identifiable hit "Respect" only scratches the surface of her unending relevance.

"Born in Memphis and raised in Detroit, Aretha Franklin grew up performing gospel songs in her father's congregation", the former first couple said in the joint statement.

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