Obamas: 'Aretha helped define the American experience'
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While “America has no royalty,” former President Obama and Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaMichelle Obama releases her voting playlist Obama to young voters: Create 'a new normal in America' by voting for Biden Obama hits trail to help Biden, protect legacy MORE say “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin showed Americans have the “chance to earn something more enduring.”

Franklin, 76, died Thursday at her home in Detroit after battling advanced pancreatic cancer, according to a statement from her family.


The 44th president was a noted and avid fan of the “Respect” singer, famously tearing up as she performed “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Women” at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors.

“Through her compositions and unmatched musicianship, Aretha helped define the American experience,” the Obamas said in a Thursday statement.

“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,” the couple said.

“And sometimes she helped us just forget about everything else and dance,” the Obamas added.

Franklin — who performed for several commanders in chief — belted out songs before the Obamas several times, including at the 2009 presidential inauguration and at the White House in 2015.

Extending condolences to Franklin’s family and fans, the Obamas said, “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.”