Aretha Franklin -- "The Queen of Soul" with a legendary career spanning five decades -- has died at the age of 76. The beloved music icon died on Thursday in her home, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
The icon's death had Hollywood in mourning, as her music certainly influenced many who came after her. Almost immediately after the news broke, performers like Barbra Stewisand and John Legend, as well as actors, actresses and other stars celebrated her life and legacy on social media.
"It's difficult to conceive of a world without her. Not only was she a uniquely brilliant singer, but her commitment to civil rights made an indelible impact on the world," wrote Streisand. "Her voice; her presence; her style. No one did it better," shared Lionel Richie, "truly the Queen of Soul. I will miss you!"
Many others also simply shared photos or the word "RESPECT," her most well-known song, Elton John shared a lengthy tribute, while friend Don Lemon called into CNN to remember her, audibly breaking down as he spoke about the loss.
Barack and Michelle Obama also issued a statement, writing: "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 pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect."
The loss of @ArethaFranklin is a blow for everybody who loves real music: Music from the heart, the soul and the Church. Her voice was unique, her piano playing underrated – she was one of my favourite pianists. pic.twitter.com/ug5oZYywAz
I was fortunate enough to spend time with her and witness her last performance – a benefit for @ejaf at St John The Divine Cathedral. She was obviously unwell, and I wasn't sure she could perform. But Aretha did and she raised the roof.
She sang and played magnificently, and we all wept. We were witnessing the greatest soul artist of all time. I adored her and worshipped her talent. God bless her. My condolences to all her family and friends. We shared the same birthday – and that meant so much to me.
"Happy memories of being with Aretha on movie sets and industry events. The Queen had a wry, skeptical eye on the world but once you got her laughing you were in. What a voice! What a soul. Angel choirs should prepare for increased rehearsal and discipline."
Aretha Franklin is the reason why I sing from that part deep inside of me that few could ever reach. She was my favorite and will always be. What a gift she has left all of us with her musical footprints. There will never be another like her. She was truly special. #QueenOfSoul
This photo was taken in 2012 when Aretha & I performed at a tribute celebration for our friend Marvin Hamlisch. It's difficult to conceive of a world without her. Not only was she a uniquely brilliant singer,but her commitment to civil rights made an indelible impact on the world pic.twitter.com/Px9zVB90MM
Aretha Franklin. The Queen of Soul. The Icon. The ultimate singers' singer. The greatest singer and musician of my lifetime. The power of your voice in music and in civil rights blew open the door for me and so many others. You were my inspiration, my mentor and my friend. pic.twitter.com/QD9pxvGLLh
You showed me I could sing the songs I wanted to sing and bring God with me. You've inspired millions everywhere yet never left home, never left church. Today the entire world mourns your home-going and celebrates all the brilliance you left behind. pic.twitter.com/Ek0yHdXcRF
I will forever cherish the moments I spent in your presence. Your indelible impact was earned not only by your incomparable voice but by your bigger than life personality, wit and humor. I say a BIG prayer for you. You will forever have all our RESPECT. Love, Mariah ♥️ pic.twitter.com/97qk0J64rO
I'm saddened to learn that Aretha Franklin has passed.The most soulful and inspirational singer of our time. / Je suis attristée d'apprendre le décès d'Aretha Franklin. La chanteuse la plus inspirante de notre époque. - Céline xx… 📸 : Kevin Mazur https://t.co/3Tz7G2W205 pic.twitter.com/Q5DtmJ1IVa
Let's all 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 pic.twitter.com/jW4Gpwfdts
This is the face of a young man who couldn't believe he was actually singing with the GREATEST OF ALL TIME. Thank you, Ms. Franklin for blessing us with your incomparable gift. Honored to have shared the stage with you even for a moment. Always bowing down to you. #QueenofSoul pic.twitter.com/4bZVAWcqeS
1) january last year my phone rings. i don't recognize the number... "hello?" a woman responds, "hello. i have miss aretha franklin for don cheadle?" "what?!? wow! um, yes. of course. please, put her on!" then the same voice changes slightly "this is aretha, honey ..." 😂
2) she called to say she loved my movie @MilesAheadFilm and wanted to share some stories about when she met him (i'm keeping those to myself) and also to let me know she's been watching me and to stay in touch. i didn't want to let her go but didn't want to overstay me welcome.
3) i told her i would reach out from time to time and asked her to please do the same. "bye." i just stood there for a minute, floored. i wanted to call my mom immediately but mom wasn't with us anymore. i hope she's with her now and tells her the same miles story she told me.
4) mom has the same kind of humor. it'll definitely crack her up. her call meant as much or more to me than any compliment ever received. there will never be about her like her. the undeniable g.o.a.t.! and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest. freedom. freedom. freedom ...
Aretha the Queen. Aretha Franklin epitomized that fierce black woman soul with just enough touch of pain in her vibrato, to make every human bow down to those precious vocals that only she could produce. May the heavens above shout with eternal pride, R-E-S-P-E-C-T!
The choir of angels now have the greatest voice of all time to lead, praise and join in to sing before Jesus. I wanted to share this photo because it shows just how soulful Aretha was without uttering a word. To say I was humbled to be in her presence would be an understatement. pic.twitter.com/R2lxjXwDO8
Mourning the loss today of @ArethaFranklin who shared her spirit and talent with the world. She deserves not only our RESPECT but also our lasting gratitude for opening our eyes, ears and hearts. Rest in eternal peace, my friend.
One of the highlights of my career was singing with #ArethaFranklin at The Tony Awards. It was an out of body experience for me. One of greatest singers of all time. You will be missed by all. https://t.co/L8dIIhyR9Y
“Looking out on the morning rain I used to feel so uninspired And when I knew I had to face another day Lord, it made me feel so tired Before the day I met you Life was so unkind But you're the key to My peace of mind.” Her voice/swagger was peerless. Thank you, #ArethaFranklin pic.twitter.com/5gp0OP10Jf
What a gift your voice was to this world and will forever continue to be #ArethaFranklin You will be GREATLY missed. My heart breaks knowing that you are gone... only from physical form though. You and your voice will live on and inspire for eternity! #QueenOfSoul
Hearing the news of her passing has left me in tears but I'm grateful to God that I got to share this smile with her. Thank you Aretha Franklin for leaving such an incredible legacy for generations among generations to stand on. May you Rest In Peace. 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/S9c9po1z3j
She joins the heavenly chorus. Whitney has been the lead singer up there and they just opened the door for the Queen. RIP The Queen of Soul. I'm glad I had the chance to spend some time with her in this lifetime. #arethafranlin
Queen watching you in this moment celebrate your birthday I thanked God for blessing me with the gift of Aretha. You taught me the meaning of “Young, Gifted and Black” and you taught all people RESPECT. My heart hurts but the faith we often discussed is comfort as tears flow. pic.twitter.com/ybJZlrt0Sc
Aretha was Detroit's sister, auntie, momma, Queen and homegirl — all in one career. There are few people that defend, honor and protect someone the way we did Aretha. You can talk about our economy, and our crime, but say something about Re-Re, and you'll get dealt with. Quick.
There will never be another Queen of Soul. Aretha Franklin is the embodiment of a soul blessed with a special gift. Grateful we have decades of recordings that will live on. Long Live The Queen. #RIPAretha
CELEBRATING #ArethaFranklin today... the first woman inducted into the @rockhall. Franklin, whose gospel-rooted singing & bluesy yet expansive delivery earned her the title "the Queen of Soul," died this morning, a source close to the family said Wednesday. She was 76. 🙏🏼
I once saw Aretha walk onstage, put her coat and purse on top of a piano - move the microphone stand aside and fill the arena with just the sound of her amazing unamplified voice. And a full orchestra. Greatest of all time. #Respect #QueenOfSoul
So sad to hear about Aretha Franklin. She represented strength and empowerment... not to mention that voice. If you're a vocalist, no matter which genre, you look up to that voice. #RipArethaFranklin 😔
Our divine #QueenOfSoul shattering the universe with the clarion call of your magnificent voice thank you Aretha for late night jam sessions long drives dance parties AMRadio revelations there will never be another who will come close farewell incredible Lady pic.twitter.com/CfwGA13T7C