Read Barack and Michelle Obama’s Statement on the Passing of Aretha Franklin

“America has no royalty. But we do have a chance to earn something more enduring.”

Former president Barack Obama celebrates with Aretha Franklin at a 2015 Justice Department event to unveil the official portrait of Eric Holder, the former Attorney General.@BarackObama/Twitter

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Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, died on Thursday at her home in Detroit, aged 76. The former president, Barack Obama, and his wife Michelle, released the following statement celebrating her musical achievements, and her iconic role in American life:

The former president also posted this photographic tribute to Franklin on Twitter:

Memorably, Franklin performed “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” at President Obama’s first inauguration. Relive that performance below:

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