'So much love, respect and gratitude': Tributes flood in for Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul

Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, Carole King, Elton John among the celebrities honouring Franklin

Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, Carole King, Elton John among the celebrities honouring Franklin

Tributes are pouring in for The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, who has died at the age of 76. (Facebook/ArethaFranklin)

Today the world lost one the titans of popular music, an artist so revered that her title, the Queen of Soul, went entirely unchallenged. Aretha Franklin was 76 years old.

Over the course of her career Franklin had dozens of hits, among them Respect, (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural WomanI Say a Little Prayer, Chain of FoolsAin't No WayThinkThe House That Jack BuiltI Knew You Were Waiting and Freeway of Love, to name just a few.

She performed for presidents, won 18 Grammys, and sold out shows wherever she traveled until last year, when doctors ordered her off the road.

She also had the unwavering respect of musicians, actors, artists, directors, politicians and other celebrities around the globe, and today tributes are flooding in on social media.

Smokey Robinson, Paul McCartney, Carole King, Hugh Jackman, Shania Twain, Elton John, Shonda Rhimes, Al Sharpton, Annie Lennox, Diana Ross and Bill Clinton are just a few of the luminaries paying their respects. 

"This morning my longest friend in this world went home to be with our Father," wrote soul legend Smokey Robinson. "I will miss her so much but I know she's at peace."

"I know that the heavenly choir is welcoming Aretha Franklin with open arms," wrote R&B icon Aaron Neville. "She was definitely the Queen of Soul."

The family of late soul legend Otis Redding, who penned the original version of Respect, also paid tribute. "Rest in Power, Ms. Aretha," reads the tweet. "You were the Queen. Your rendition of 'Respect' launched a revolution."

A younger generation of stars, from Christina Aguilera to Kelly Clarkson, also expressed their deep appreciation for Franklin, and cited her as an essential influence.

Country icon Shania Twain was among the Canadian stars to pay their respects.

Franklin performed at many U.S. Democratic Party political events, and Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and Reverend Al Sharpton were among the political powerhouses to pay their respects, along with current president Donald Trump.

Even U.S. space organization NASA paid their respects, saying that the asteroid named after Franklin will continue on its orbit.

Here are some of the many, many other high-profile tributes to the Queen of Soul:


Jennifer Van Evra is a Vancouver-based journalist and digital producer. She can be found on Twitter @jvanevra or email jennifer.vanevra@cbc.ca.