Metro Detroit, Michigan leaders react to death of Aretha Franklin

Queen of Soul dies at age 76 from advanced pancreatic cancer

Aretha Franklin (WDIV)

DETROIT - Leaders throughout Metro Detroit and the state of Michigan are reacting to the news that the "Queen of Soul," Aretha Franklin, died Thursday at age 76 from advanced pancreatic cancer.

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans:

"Aretha Franklin was known internationally as the Queen of Soul, but she was also the Voice of Detroit. I’m deeply saddened to learn of her passing today. On behalf of all of Wayne County, I want to extend my thoughts and prayers to her family and friends as they reflect on Aretha’s incredible life. I hope they can take comfort knowing that Aretha’s artistry and work will be celebrated by millions of fans, from the corner of Linwood and Philadelphia to every part of the planet, for generations to come."

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan:

"Aretha Franklin and her father, Rev. C. L. Franklin, have meant so much to our city for generations of Detroiters and we are all deeply saddened that Aretha has passed.

"Few people in the history of our city have been as universally loved or left as indelible a mark as Aretha. From the time her father gave Aretha her start in the New Bethel choir, it was clear to everyone how special she was. She was a performer without peers. Throughout her extraordinary life and career, she earned the love - and yes, the respect - of millions of people, not just for herself and for women everywhere, but for the city she loved so dearly and called home.

"I was honored to present Aretha with the key to our city last year and her last concert in Detroit. While she may have passed, Aretha Franklin will always have the key to our hearts."

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell:

"John and I lost a friend. Aretha’s father was a true friend to John, helping him in his first election and fighting Civil Rights battles together in the 50s and 60s. Aretha was just a friend to me – there if I ever needed her. Aretha was complicated, loving and giving. Faith was important to her and the Church never left her. Her faith in Detroit and it’s people is what I will remember as much as her voice."

Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow:

"The impact Aretha Franklin made on Detroit and the whole world will never be forgotten. Sending my deepest condolences and prayers to the loved ones of one of the most gifted artists of our generation."

Democratic nominee for Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer:

"Aretha’s music inspired millions, and her voice will live in our hearts forever. Farewell to a true Michigan icon."

Morgan Mark, of the Motown Museum:

"Motown Museum will play Aretha Franklin hits this weekend to pay tribute to the Queen of Soul and her trailblazing contributions to music.

"In addition, the Museum will have a guest book available for visitors to sign and share their condolences. On behalf of Motown Museum and its guests, the book will be sent to Aretha’s family."

Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence:

"Today, the Queen of Soul has left this world; but her life and legacy has left us all with something we can truly feel. Aretha Franklin was soul personified and she gave us the gift of her voice, her truth and her unapologetic passion to demand compassion, love and R-E-S-P-E-C-T for women everywhere. An iconic entertainer, powerful civil rights leader and a beautiful spirit who I am privileged to call friend. She will be dearly missed, but never forgotten."

Detroit NAACP Rev. Wendell Anthony:

"Every now and then God sends us a beautiful melody. Melodies create within a song that which lingers on. Aretha Franklin was a melody. Her song may have ended but the melody of her life will linger on. It lingers on because of her spirit, her service, and her commitment to the people of God. She was more than an entertainer. She was an edu-tainer. She educated, and she entertained. She uplifted as she inspired. She magnified as she focused. As she has now made her transition, may we in the community of life continue to travel down the freeway of love, offering to each other more respect. Let us continue to work together. We must never forget to think and say a little prayer for each other. As we do so, let us also say a big prayer for freedom, justice, and equality. In the words of Aretha Franklin let us simply jump to it. GOD SAVE THE QUEEN!"

Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr.:

"A lot of music left the earth today. The Heavens rejoice. Rest in heavenly peace ... We will always love you. All hail the Queen!"

We will update this list with more statements as they come in.

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