Bill and Hillary Clinton pay tribute to Aretha Franklin

Bill and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonIf Mueller's report lacks indictments, collusion is a delusion Conservatives wage assault on Mueller report The wisdom of Trump's lawyers, and the accountability that must follow Mueller's report MORE are paying "respect" to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.

Franklin, who achieved fame in the 1960s with a string of R&B classics like "Respect," "Chain of Fools" and "Natural Woman," died at the age of 76, her family announced on Thursday.

With her passing, America lost one of its “greatest national treasures,” former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonThe wisdom of Trump's lawyers, and the accountability that must follow Mueller's report JOBS for Success Act would recognize that all people have potential Howard Schultz is holding the Democratic Party hostage MORE said in a statement to ABC.

“For more than 50 years, she stirred our souls,” he said, adding that she was “elegant, graceful, and utterly uncompromising in her artistry.”

Former first lady and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton also weighed in, tweeting that Franklin "deserves not only our RESPECT but also our lasting gratitude for opening our eyes, ears and hearts."

Franklin belted out her hits for several presidents throughout her decades-long career. She performed at both of Bill Clinton's presidential inaugurations, for which the 42nd president said he would “always be grateful.”

Bill Clinton, 71, noted he was present at “what sadly turned out to be her final performance last November at a benefit supporting the fight against HIV/AIDS.” Franklin was among the performers at Elton John’s annual AIDS Foundation gala last year in New York.

“She will forever be the Queen of Soul and so much more to all who knew her personally and through her music,” the statement, which also included Hillary Clinton, said.

“Our hearts go out to her family and her countless fans.”