Aretha Franklin, the music icon, legendary singer and "Queen of Soul," her passing on Thursday left millions of her fans heartbroken. This is how the world reacted to Franklin's death

Aretha Franklin performs on the opening night of a run of shows at the Aladdin in Las Vegas, Nevada, US, June 21, 1978.
Aretha Franklin performs on the opening night of a run of shows at the Aladdin in Las Vegas, Nevada, US, June 21, 1978. (Reuters)

Aretha Franklin, the preacher's daughter whose powerful voice made her the long-reigning "Queen of Soul" with such hit songs as "Respect" and "Chain of Fools," passed away on Thursday at the age of 76.

She had been battling advanced pancreatic cancer.

Franklin, who won 18 Grammy Awards and had some 25 gold records.

Here is how the world reacted to the passing of a legend.

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"Through her compositions and unmatched musicianship, Aretha helped define the American experience. 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. And sometimes she helped us just forget about everything else and dance." — Former US President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama said in a statement.

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"This morning my longest friend in this world went home to be with our father.

I will miss her so much but I know she's at peace." — American singer, songwriter and producer Smokey Robinson, said in a statement.

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"The most consistent voice in music for 60 years has been Aretha Franklin's voice... The world of music has lost a bit of its soul." — Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson said in an AP interview.

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"I'm one of the lucky ones to have seen Aretha perform in the very beginning of her career. She was amazing then and just became greater through the years. Talk about R.E.S.P.E.C.T., we have it for you, Aretha. You will never be forgotten." — American singer, songwriter, record producer, actress, Dolly Parton said on Twitter.

"I can't remember a day of my life without Aretha Franklin's voice and music filling up my heart with so much joy and sadness. Absolutely heartbroken she's gone, what a woman. Thank you for everything, the melodies and the movements." —  English singer and songwriter Adele said via Instagram.

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"It's a sad day but what a glorious lady. Her voice says it all!" — Guitarist for the legendary rock band Rolling Stones, Keith Richards said via Instagram.

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"It's difficult to conceive of a world without her. Not only was she a uniquely brilliant singer, but her commitment to civil rights made an indelible impact on the world." — American singer, actress, director and producer Barbra Streisand said via Twitter.

"No matter how many great singers and voices there will always be 1 Queen. #ArethaQueenForever." — African American television host and actress Oprah Winfrey said via Instagram

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"Aretha Franklin. The Queen of Soul. The Icon. The ultimate singers' singer. The greatest singer and musician of my lifetime. The power of your voice in music and in civil rights blew open the door for me and so many others. You were my inspiration, my mentor and my friend." — American singer and songwriter Mariah Carey said via Twitter.

"It seems very strange to wake up and hear that she passed today even though she lived such a long and fulfilled life. It's no secret that she's an icon. She is an icon of all icons... I don't know anyone she hasn't inspired." — American rapper and singer Nicki Minaj said on Apple Music.

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"What a life. What a legacy! So much love, respect and gratitude. R.I.P." — American composer and singer-songwriter Carole King said via Twitter.

"She is now in the pantheon of God's greats, in the bosom of family." — American actress, comedienne and author Whoopi Goldberg said via Twitter.

"Aretha was such a timeless inspiration to me and so many others, the ultimate queen, thank you for the gift of your voice, music and unshakeable soul." — American singer, songwriter, actress Christina Aguilera said via Twitter.

"Her voice; her presence; her style

No one did it better

Truly the Queen of Soul

I will miss you!" — American singer, songwriter and actor Lionel Richie said in a statement.

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"Salute to the Queen. The greatest vocalist I've ever known." — American singer and song writerJohn Legend said via Twitter.

"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 favorite pianists." — English singer, pianist, and composer Elton John said via Instagram.

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"I'm sitting in prayer for the wonderful golden spirit Aretha Franklin." — American singer, songwriter and actress Diana Ross said via Twitter.

"Today the world has experienced a tremendous loss. Aretha was a rare treasure whose unmatched musical genius helped craft the soundtrack to the lives of so many." — American singer, songwriter, actress, and entrepreneur Patti LaBelle said via Twitter.

"One of the highlights of my career was singing with #ArethaFranklin at The Tony Awards. It was an out of body experience for me. One of greatest singers of all time. You will be missed by all." — Australian actor, singer, and producer Hugh Jackman said via Twitter.

"The Spinners wish to express their heartfelt condolences to the family of ArethaFranklin. It was Aretha who recommended Atlantic Records to The Spinners in 1968, where they made their greatest hits. Aretha Franklin will forever be the Queen of Soul." — American R&B/soul group The Spinners said in a statement.

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"For more than 50 years, she stirred our souls.

She was elegant, graceful, and utterly uncompromising in her artistry. Aretha's first music school was the church and her performances were powered by what she learned there. I'll always be grateful for her kindness and support, including her performances at both my inaugural celebrations, and for the chance to be there for what sadly turned out to be her final performance last November at a benefit supporting the fight against HIV/AIDS. She will forever be the Queen of Soul and so much more to all who knew her personally and through her music. Our hearts go out to her family and her countless fans." — Former US President Bill Clinton said in a statement.

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"The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, is dead. She was a great woman, with a wonderful gift from God, her voice. She will be missed!" — US President Donald Trump said via Twitter.

"Aretha Franklin was simply peerless. She has reigned supreme, and will always be held in the highest firmament of stars as the most exceptional vocalist, performer and recording artist the world has ever been privileged to witness." — Scottish singer, songwriter, political activist and philanthropist Annie Lennox said via Twitter.

"Let's all take a moment to give thanks for the beautiful life of Aretha Franklin, the Queen of our souls, who inspired us all for many, many years.

She will be missed but the memory of her greatness as a musician and a fine human being will live with us forever." — English singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer Paul McCartney said via Twitter.

"Deeply saddened by the passing of a beloved friend and queen/warrior ArethaFranklin. Her contributions are legendary both personally and societally. We hope you take a pause today to remember the life of a beautiful soul." — American civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton said via Twitter.

Source: AP