In the wake of Aretha Franklin’s death at the age of 76, celebrities, fans and former presidents are collectively mourning the loss of the “Queen of Soul.” Joining the list of people who have posted heartfelt reactions to the sad news are Barack and Michelle Obama. As longtime fans, the Obamas’ love for the legendary “Respect” singer goes way back. Franklin gave a stellar performance of “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee”on the National Mall for Barack Obama’s 2009 presidential inauguration, and she was on constant rotation on his 2012 campaign playlist. Franklin also made several appearances at the White House during Obama’s tenure, even headlining a gospel celebration there with Morgan State University Choir. Needless to say, the Obamas’ bond with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee was specialall the more evidenced by their latest posts on social media.
On Facebook, the former president commemorated Franklin’s life and legacy, issuing the following statement: “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. Michelle and I send our prayers and warmest sympathies to her family and all those moved by her song.” Mrs. O took to Twitter to share her reaction to Franklin’s death, writing, “@BarackObama and I are holding Aretha’s family in our hearts right now. She will forever be our Queen of Soul.” Michelle Obama’s reflection on Franklin’s standstill moment reminds us of the time she brought Barack Obama to tears at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors. You can watch the tender moment in full below, where the Queen of Soul delivered a powerhouse performance of “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.”