Aretha Franklin Mourned by Barack and Michelle Obama: 'She Helped Define the American Experience'

Barack and Michelle Obama, the former first couple, have paid tribute to Aretha Franklin on Thursday, saying that she "helped define the American experience."

The 44th President and his First Lady both took to Twitter to share tributes to the fallen icon who recently passed away.

"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," the former president wrote. "May the Queen of Soul rest in eternal peace."

For her memorial post, Michelle recalled the time that Franklin came to sing at the White House.

"Watching Aretha Franklin perform at the White House, and on so many other occasions, made time stand still," she said. "[Barack Obama] and I are holding Aretha’s family in our hearts right now. She will forever be our Queen of Soul.

The Obamas also released a full joint statement:

"America has no royalty," it read. "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."

They are not the only political figures to share tributes to Franklin, as many others have as well.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tweted out that she was "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," she added. "Rest in eternal peace, my friend."

Current United States President Donald Trump also commented on Franklin's passing, also praising her as "The Queen of Soul."

0comments

"She was a great woman, with a wonderful gift from God, her voice," he added. "She will be missed!"

As has been reported, Franklin passed away on Thursday after what is said to have been a short battle with pancreatic cancer.