Don Lemon: We lost a legend

CNN's Don Lemon remembers his friend Aretha Franklin.

Posted: Aug 17, 2018 6:19 AM
Updated: Aug 17, 2018 6:50 AM

A one-of-a-kind voice in the musical world is being remembered as a person who's left an unfillable void in the music industry.

Aretha Franklin, who died Thursday after a battle with pancreatic cancer, is being honored by her peers across multiple generations and musical genres as a legend and the undeniable queen of all things soul.

Clive Davis

"I'm absolutely devastated by Aretha's passing," Davis told CNN's Don Lemon. "She was truly one of a kind. She was more than the Queen of Soul. She was a national treasure to be cherished by every generation throughout the world. Apart from our long professional relationship, Aretha was my friend. Her loss is deeply profound and my heart is full of sadness."

Barbra Streisand

"This photo was taken in 2012 when Aretha & I performed at a tribute celebration for our friend Marvin Hamlisch," Streisand wrote in a tweet. "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."

Diana Ross

"I'm sitting in prayer for the wonderful golden spirit Aretha Franklin."

John Legend

"Salute to the Queen. The greatest vocalist I've ever known."

Elton John

"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."

Lenny Kravitz

"The Queen of Soul has left this earth to sit on her throne in heaven. How blessed we were to hear the best that God had to offer in her voice. RESPECT!"

Related: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, has died

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

"LADY SOUL. The first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Aretha Franklin was an artist of passion, sophistication and command, whose recordings remain anthems that defined soul music. Long live the Queen."

Related: President Trump and other politicians mourn Aretha Franklin

President and Mrs. Obama

"America has no royalty. But we do have a chance to earn something more enduring. Born in Memphis and raised in Detroit, Aretha Franklin grew up performing gospel songs in her father's congregation. For more than six decades since, every time she sang, we were all graced with a glimpse of the divine. 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 our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect. 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. Aretha may have passed on to a better place, but the gift of her music remains to inspire us all. May the Queen of Soul rest in eternal peace. Michelle and I send our prayers and warmest sympathies to her family and all those moved by her song."

President Clinton and Secretary Clinton

"Hillary and I mourn the loss of our friend Aretha 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. Aretha's first music school was the church and her performances were powered by what she learned there. 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. She will forever be the Queen of Soul and so much more to all who knew her personally and through her music. Our hearts go out to her family and her countless fans."

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan

"I was honored to present Aretha Franklin with the key to our city last year at her last show in Detroit. She earned the love and respect of millions of people, not just for herself, but for the city she loved so dearly and called home. We are deeply saddened that she has passed."

Detroit Lions

"Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Aretha Franklin. Aretha was a groundbreaker and an icon whose legacy will live on forever."

Lionel Richie

"Her voice; her presence; her style. No one did it better Truly the Queen of Soul I will miss you!"

Quincy Jones

"From the time that Dinah Washington first told me that Aretha was the 'next one' when she was 12 years old until the present day, Aretha Franklin set the bar upon which every female singer has and will be measured. And she did it with the professionalism, class, grace and humility that only a true Queen could. I treasured every moment that we spent together from working in the recording studio, to performing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, or simply hanging in the kitchen, and I will miss her dearly. RIP Ree-Ree. You will reign as the Queen forever."

Linda Solomon

"She was the heart and soul of our city. She did everything for our city," Linda Solomon, a friend of Franklin and native of Detroit, told CNN.

"She once said when I'm not on stage, I am the lady next door. I would see Aretha at Kroger's. I went to the cashier and said, 'Did you see Aretha in the produce aisles?' She said, 'She's always here.' She was down to earth, she was unassuming, she was wonderful to work with."

Peabo Bryson

Singer Peabo Bryson remembered Franklin as very persuasive.

"Because it's the queen, you do what she says," Bryson told CNN Thursday. "One of the things you never said to Aretha Franklin was, 'No.' "

Dionne Warwick

"Our Heavenly Father has chosen one of our most prolific voices to join His Heavenly Choir...............Aretha now rests in peace!!.....I, like I'm sure she was taught, that we are All put on this earth for a purpose, and once that is fulfilled, we will then be 'Called Home'! She sincerely will be missed throughout the Musical World, Family, and Friends. My deep heartfelt condolence I send from my family to her family and do hope the grief I know they are feeling will begin to subside with time, as losing a family member is a VERY HARD THING to process. Know that her pain is over and she suffers no longer! Rest in Peace my Friend."

Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis

"When she sang, she embodied what we were fighting for, and her music strengthened us. It revived us. 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. 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."

Sam Moore

"Aretha Franklin and I have been friends and label mates for more than sixty years. I adored her and I know the feelings were mutual. While I'm heartbroken that she's gone I know she's in the Lord's arms and she's not in pain or suffering anymore from the damn cancer that took her away from us. I'm going to hope, pray and count on the fact that I will see her again sometime. Rest in the Lord's arms in love, Re."

Pharrell Williams

"Been listening to this for the past couple of days. What an amazing illustration of the spirit that is @ArethaFranklin Listen to this, look up to the stars and know she is with the Master now."

Paul McCartney

"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"

U2

"R.E.S.T.I.N [peace], civil rights activist, Queen of Soul, thank you from Bono, The Edge, Larry and Adam"

Willie Nelson

"Whether it was Gospel, Blues, Jazz, R&B, Pop,or Civil Rights, Aretha Franklin was the greatest gift and the voice of a generation. She could turn any song into a hymn. She will be greatly missed here on earth, but that band in heaven just got our Angel. Rest In Peace Aretha"

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