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Queen of Soul ‘defined American experience,’ Obamas say

Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama, longtime fans and friends of Aretha Franklin, released a statement in honor of the Queen of Soul, who died today at age 76.

“Aretha helped define the American experience,” they wrote jointly on Twitter. “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.”

“America has no royalty, but we do have a chance to earn something more enduring. 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. She helped us feel more connected to each other, more hopeful, more human.”

“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.”