Aretha Franklin, the musical icon who was lovingly known as “The Queen Of Soul,” has passed away. Franklin may have been born in Memphis but she grew up in Detroit and has long been hailed as their leading hometown hero.
“Aretha was Detroit’s sister, auntie, momma, Queen and homegirl — all in one career.,” writes sports reporter Jemele Hill on Twitter. “There are few people that defend, honor and protect someone the way we did Aretha. You can talk about our economy, and our crime, but say something about Re-Re, and you’ll get dealt with. Quick.”
Mayor Of Detroit, Mike Duggan, shared a similar sentiment in a statement published by the Detroit Free Press.
“Few people in the history of our city have been as universally loved or left as indelible a mark as Aretha,” he wrote. “From the time her father gave Aretha her start in the New Bethel choir, it was clear to everyone how special she was. She was a performer without peers.”
Michigan’s governor, Rick Snyder, also praised Franklin on Twitter.
“The world has lost an incredible talent and musical icon,” he wrote. “One of Detroit’s greatest residents, Aretha will long be remembered as the “Queen of Soul” and her presence will be missed dearly.”
The city’s football team, the Detroit Lions, also posted their tribute with a photo of the late singer playing the piano in one of their team hats.
“Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Aretha Franklin,” the tweet reads. “Aretha was a groundbreaker and an icon whose legacy will live on forever.”
According to CNN, The Motown Museum in Detroit will play Aretha’s music all weekend long to celebrate the contributions that Franklin made to American music, even though she was never signed to the historic record label. A special guestbook will also be available so that visitors can express their condolences and will be sent to her relatives.
“Her legacy will continue to inspire and resonate in the souls of Detroiters and her fans around the world,” said Robin Terry, chairwoman and CEO of Motown Museum, in a statement published by CNN.
In Detroit, vigils for Franklin started before her death on Thursday, as news of her failing health went public. CBC News reports that on Wednesday residents of the city gathered at New Bethel Baptist Church, the church where her father pastored, to say prayers for her.
The Detroit News reports that flowers and pictures have been left at the church in tribute as well. They also say that people have been driving by the church and honking their horns and playing her music. There was also praise for the fact that Franklin was always proud to say that she was from Detroit.
“She was never ashamed to say she was from Detroit,” said one mourner, Diana Clemons. “Even in our bad times, she never was ashamed to say she was from Detroit. It makes me proud to be a Detroiter.”