Aretha Franklin Death: Celebs Reflect on the Queen of Soul’s Legacy

After learning of Aretha Franklin’s death Thursday morning, celebrities took to Twitter to express their condolences and respect for the Queen of Soul. Singer-songwriter Carole King tweeted: “What a life. What a legacy! So much love, respect and gratitude.” Hamilton star Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeted a video of Franklin performing “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2015, writing that he was “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.” Paul McCartney echoed that sentiment, calling on the public to “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.”

Barack and Michelle Obama also released a tender tribute, writing in a statement that “America has no royalty. But we do have a chance to earn something more enduring [...] 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.” And Merriam-Webster dictionary’s Twitter account blasted out a simple, but heartwarming tribute: the definition page for “respect,” accompanied by a heart. Franklin, who became one of the top-selling female artists with classics like “Respect” and “I Say a Little Prayer,” died Thursday at her home in Detroit from advanced pancreatic cancer.