President Donald Trump and other politicians were among the many mourning the loss of legendary singer Aretha Franklin Thursday and paying tribute to the storied legacy of the “Queen of Soul”.
Trump tweeted that Franklin “was a great woman, with a wonderful gift from God, her voice.”
“She will be missed!” he added.
Before a Cabinet meeting at the White House, Trump paused to offer his “warmest best wishes and sympathies” to Franklin’s family.
He described the singer as a person he knew well and said her “legacy will thrive and inspire” many generations.
Trump had brushed shoulders with Franklin before he was president, including in 1997 at the grand opening of the Trump International Hotel and Tower in New York City.
Franklin performed at a few of Trump’s properties, including Trump Castle and the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama also paid homage to Franklin, saying she “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,” the Obamas said in a statement.
The Obamas added, “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.”
Franklin performed “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” at the first inauguration ceremony for Obama.
Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Franklin “one of America’s greatest national treasures.”
“For more than 50 years, she stirred our souls. She was elegant, graceful, and utterly uncompromising in her artistry,” the Clintons said in a joint statement Thursday.
“I’ll always be grateful for her kindness and support, including her performances at both my inaugural celebrations, and for the chance to be there for what sadly turned out to be her final performance last November at a benefit supporting the fight against HIV/AIDS,” the 42nd president said.
Hillary Clinton also shared her condolences separately on Twitter.
“Mourning the loss today of Aretha Franklin 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,” she wrote.
Georgia congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis recalled how Franklin “embodied what we were fighting for, and her music strengthened us” during the civil rights movement.
“When we would be released from jail after a non-violent protest, we might go to a late night club and let the music of Aretha Franklin fill our hearts,” Lewis said in a statement. “She was like a muse whose songs whispered the strength to continue on. Her music gave us a greater sense of determination to never give up or give in, and to keep the faith.”
Lewis said Franklin had “a lifelong, unwavering commitment to civil rights and was one of the strongest supporters of the movement.”
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said, “the world has lost an incredible talent and musical icon.”
“One of Detroit’s greatest residents, Aretha will long be remembered as the ‘Queen of Soul’ and her presence will be missed dearly,” Snyder tweeted Thursday.
Franklin died Thursday at 76 at her home in Detroit, surrounded by family and friends, according to a statement on behalf of Franklin’s family from her longtime publicist Gwendolyn Quinn. Funeral arrangements will be announced in the coming days, according to the statement.
CNN’s Lisa Respers France, Betsy Klein, Jeremy Diamond and Jessica Metzger contributed to this report.