Bill Cosby Credits Aretha Franklin's Theme Song for Success of 'A Different World'

Bill Cosby joined the many celebrities paying tribute to Aretha Franklin, thanking her for performing the theme song to his Cosby Show spin-off A Different World.

"Aretha Franklin – I want to thank her for her wonderful voice singing the theme song of A Different World. She made a big, strong positive impact on that series," Cosby wrote on Twitter and Facebook. "I am playing a cut from her CD – the title of the song is 'Wholy Holy' – and she's live in a church. Bon Voyage."

A Different World was a spin-off of The Cosby Show, originally starring Lisa Bonet reprising her role as Denise Huxtable in the first season, which debuted in 1987. Franklin sang the title song for seasons two through five. Franklin's ex-husband, Glynn Turman, also joined the show in season two. Turman and Franklin were married from 1978 to 1984.

Cosby's remarks earned negative comments on Twitter. The disgraced comedian is out on $1 million bond after he was convicted of sexual harassment charges from allegations by former Temple University student Andrea Constand. Cosby is now awaiting trial.

Earlier this week, Cosby's attorney, Joseph P. Green Jr., filed a motion arguing against a recommendation for Cosby to be declared a "sexually violent predator," reports HuffPost. Cosby's legal team said this would only "punish, shame and control" Cosby "in violation" of his "constitutional rights." Green said it would also make it impossible for Cosby to be with his grandchildren, since it would bar him from being around minors.

Cosby's sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 24. The 81-year-old Cosby could be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison.

Franklin died on Thursday at age 76 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. The "Respect" singer's family thanked fans and Franklin's colleagues for their outpouring of support.

"We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and fans all around the world," the statement reads. "Thank you for your compassion and prayers. We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time."

"The loss of Aretha Franklin 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," Elton John said in a statement. "I was fortunate enough to spend time with her and witness her last performance – a benefit for [Elton John AIDS Foundation] at St John The Divine Cathedral. She was obviously unwell, and I wasn't sure she could perform. But Aretha did and she raised the roof."

Before her death, Franklin reportedly approved a tribute show at Madison Square Garden, which music producer Clive Davis booked for Nov. 14.

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