Aretha Franklin‘s hometown of Detroit, Mich., gathered to pay tribute to a musician that elevated the bar of each genre she decided to command. When the “Respect” singer fell ill earlier this week, calls for prayers and vigils were held from across the world to Detroit’s New Bethel Baptist Church. A few days later, reports stated that Franklin was at “peace with her journey” and was pronounced dead on Thursday morning (Aug. 16). The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, 76, had a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
Her roots in Detroit are as firm and strong as the church her father, CL Franklin, was once a preacher (the same church where the vigil was held). Part of his ministry included advocating for safe housing and civil rights, and it’s where his daughters (Carolyn, Erma, and Aretha) performed gospel melodies. To further solidify her hometown hero status, Franklin performed at the 2016 Super Bowl when the Detroit Lions played against the Minnesota Vikings. In a 2011 interview with the Detroit Free Press, Franklin reassured her native Detroiters that her pride for the city is embedded in her veins. “I like the camaraderie in Detroit,” she said, “how we’ll rally behind something that’s really worthy and come to each other’s assistance.”
In a statement issued by the acclaimed musician’s family, they thanked supporters for their outpour of well-wishes. “We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and fans all around the world,” the passage reads via The Hollywood Reporter. “Thank you for your compassion and prayers. We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.”
Read a few comments on Franklin’s impact on Detroit below.
Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Aretha Franklin.
Aretha was a groundbreaker and an icon whose legacy will live on forever. pic.twitter.com/dmYrfpDOjC
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) August 16, 2018
Aretha Franklin’s father, CL Franklin, was well known as a religious and civil rights leader in Detroit, close to MLK. He fought for better housing in Detroit for blacks and helped organize 1963 March on Washington.
2016 photos I took of his church and street named after him: pic.twitter.com/ujK9Bdwopk
— Niraj Warikoo (@nwarikoo) August 13, 2018
Detroit has produced more than its share of music greats, but the list will always start with Aretha Franklin. I hope her remaining time is filled with peace, love and comfort.
— Dave Hogg (@stareagle) August 14, 2018
Growing up in Detroit, Aretha Franklin and #Motown music were the soundtrack to my life. I’m so sad to hear of Aretha’s passing and I’m glad I got to see her perform live in #Detroit a few years ago. RIP #arethafranklin pic.twitter.com/xtGIXNEupz
— Jon Klaft (@jonklaft) August 16, 2018
It’s hard for me to say what Aretha Franklin means to me- her ubiquity, maybe, meant that her voice defined my sense of my home country. Detroit was my American experience growing up and Aretha was an emblem of that place I love so well. Rest in power, Aretha. You were so loved.
— Katherine Kaestner-Frenchman (@katie_kaestner) August 16, 2018
Dancing it out or cooking to Aretha Franklin is my personal way of handling life. My mom, Detroit born and raised, instilled a love of Motown in me at young age. Aretha, your beautiful music has helped me celebrate highs and power through lows, I am forever grateful. #soulqueen
— Ann Yarko Orner (@YesForYarko) August 16, 2018
Aretha was Detroit’s sister, auntie, momma, Queen and homegirl — all in one career. 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.
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) August 16, 2018
Beloved Queen Of Soul Aretha Franklin has passed. She was a firm foundation in my life and my family’s life. As a native of Detroit and going to Reverend Franklins Church she was like family. Rest In Peace Queen. pic.twitter.com/jFf1HaBwMf
— celset (@celset2) August 16, 2018
People used to shun their local churches & travel to hear the young Aretha Franklin sing in her Dad’s church in Detroit. Would have been a big deal at the time. Hers was always the greatest voice.
— Russell Deal (@rustysheppey) August 16, 2018
Montez Miller ties balloons, stuffed animal to pole at Aretha Franklin Way in downtown Detroit. Miller says she’s a professional photographer because Franklin hired her on faith to take candids, event photos. Hear more on WWJ NewsRadio 950 AM and https://t.co/NcwIrwPs9B. @WWJ950 pic.twitter.com/1dLyPJyGiY
— Mike Campbell (@reportermikec) August 16, 2018
READ MORE: RIP Queen Of Soul: Watch Aretha Franklin’s Final Performance