The US singer, whose career spanned seven decades, passed away at her home in Detroit, Michigan, on Thursday, surrounded by her family.
US President Donald Trump expressed his condolences to the family of, "a person I knew well - she worked for me on numerous occasions, she was terrific". "The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds", the family said. She was elegant, graceful, and utterly uncompromising in her artistry.
The Queen of Soul even got a tweet in her honour from NASA.
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Billy Mitchell, known as "Mr. Apollo", is the long-time historian for the theater, which since 1934 has launched the careers of many of America's greatest black artists. "Our intention was to honor the icon using a secondary image of her performing with Patti LaBelle in the full screen graphic, but the image of Ms. Franklin was obscured in that process, which we deeply regret".
Former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama said that Franklin showed how Americans have "the chance to earn something more enduring".
She was diagnosed with cancer eight years ago in 2010 and last year announced her retirement from music. And I brought it to her and played it for her.
Franklin, who had been the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, took the mic and rose.
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"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", they said in a statement.
Liz Smith, a columnist at the New York Post wrote that Aretha Franklin was "much too bosomy" to wear certain types of clothes, but that her confidence makes it work.
In 2010, she suffered serious health problems, but continued to perform until late a year ago, singing last in November 2017 for the Elton John AIDS Foundation in NY. In 1966, she signed to Atlantic, releasing a string of singles with the label, including "Respect", "A Natural Woman", and "I Say A Little Prayer". In 2005, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
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A 28-year-old woman who gave her name only as Bianca was taking photographs with her family nearby.