Aretha Franklin death: Barack Obama pays tribute to singer who 'helped define the American experience'

Clark Mindock

Former President Barack Obama has paid tribute and R-E-S-P-E-C-T to Aretha Franklin, grieving the Queen of Soul’s death alongside several of America’s top politicians.

In posts shared across various social media accounts associated with Mr Obama, the 44th president of the United States praised the strength and beauty of Franklin’s voice and musical catalogue.

“Aretha helped define the American experience,” he wrote in his post on Twitter. “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”.

He continued: “May the Queen of Soul rest in eternal peace”.

Several other American politicians have paid tribute to Franklin following news of her death, including Mr Obama’s successor, President Donald Trump.

“The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, is dead,” Mr Trump wrote on Twitter just hours after a string of tweets attacking the free press. “She was a great woman, with a wonderful gift from God, her voice. She will be missed!”

Mr Trump’s 2016 opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, also praised the late singer.

“Mourning the loss today of Aretha Franklin who shared her spirit and talent with the world,” Ms Clinton wrote on Twitter. “She deserves not only our RESPECT but also our lasting gratitude for opening our eyes, ears and hearts. Rest in eternal peace, my friend”.

Franklin died at her home in Detroit Thursday morning, surrounded by her family and friends, a statement sent on behalf of her family and friends from her longtime publicist said.

The "official cause of death was due to advanced pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type," the statement read, "which was confirmed by Franklin's oncologist, Dr Phillips of Karmanos Cancer Institute of Detroit".

In addition to the tributes from top American politicians, celebrities from across the entertainment spectrum weighed in to express their grief following word of Franklin's death.

"Salute to the Queen. The greatest vocalist I've ever known," singer John Legend tweeted alongside several prayer emojis.

Singer Ariana Grande tweeted a simple photo of her with Franklin, alongside dozens of heart emojis.

Actress and comedian Leslie Jones tweeted her respects, saying that Franklin had helped her through difficult times.

"Y'ALL DON'T UNDERSTAND WE JUST LOST THE QUEEN!!" Jones wrote. "I WILL MISS YOU ARETHA FRANKLIN SO MANY NIGHTS YOUR MUSIC SAVED MY LIFE!! REST IN PEACE!!"

Franklin was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1942, where her father was a minister and nationally known gospel singer. She began recording gospel at the age of 14.

Her musical career made her an icon, and she was able to perform at some of the most prestigious and historical moments or events in modern American history, including at the inauguration of Mr Obama.