Former President Bill Clinton has released a statement on the passing of his “friend,” Aretha Franklin who he remained fond of after she performed at both of his Presidential inauguration celebrations.
Along with his wife, former First Lady Hillary Clinton, the Arkansas native shared memories and heartfelt condolences following the announcement of her death at age 76.
“Hillary and I mourn the loss of our friend Aretha Franklin, one of America’s greatest national treasures. 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,” the statement read.
The Detroit native performed at Clinton’s first inauguration in 1993 and at celebrations in 1997 for his second term.
In 1999, both Mr. and Mrs. Clinton awarded the songstress with the National Medal of Arts and Humanities Award for her talent and contribution to music.
“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.”
On Twitter, Hillary shared her own thoughts on Franklin’s legacy.