Aretha Franklin, the Hall of Fame singer and undisputed Queen of Soul, has died at age 76. Read more from Rolling Stone.

“Rest in Power Aretha Franklin! Your music is the soundtrack to my childhood and many others. As we all mourn, celebrate, and reminisce, we are “saying a little prayer for you,” and your family. As I selfishly look back, I must acknowledge that music has served as an extreme comfort to my unquiet spirit during troubled times, and the music of Gospel group, Shekinah Glory, in particular, helped me embrace the process of rededicating my life to Christ. But as a child, nothing more than can be credited with formulating the fabric of my being more than Soul Music from the 60s & 70s. Placing the needle to record to hear the music of Lady Soul runs parallel to the many occasions I served as a young Master of Ceremonies for my Mother Carole Fobbs who must have owned every single album Aretha Franklin ever made. Aretha’s music also touched my younger sister Kim Woolfalk who earlier this week eloquently wrote about tales of her nickname coined as Baby “Rock Steady.” As I reminisce growing up in New York City and having to walk down to the local record store on Broadway to purchase records for my Mom, I remember the album covers of each of Aretha’s early albums vividly. The irony of my humble beginnings perfecting my DJ/Personality skills as I would play the DJ for my mother, her girlfriends and children in a house filled with music and love. Soul Music served as the common denominator for uniting people of all races growing up at Westgate which illuminated the lives of so many. We were raised by a village, but Soul Music was the conduit to our happiness, and our foundation and Aretha was the Queen of it all!” –Lorenzo “Ice T” Thomas, Live From The MIA

Aretha Franklin was truly one of the great singers of our time. She was blessed with a once in a lifetime voice. A blessing only handed down to a chosen few. I had the pleasure of knowing and sharing some wonderful times with her. We were label mates on Arista Records, we had planned to do a duet together and somehow we never got it done. So sad to lose someone who was such and integral part of our history of music. Her music will continue to soothe the souls of everyone across the planet and ring out through the gates of heaven. –Jeffrey Osborne

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