Washington - Barack Obama on Thursday paid tribute to the late "Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin, praising her "unmatched musicianship" that he said "helped define the American experience."
"Every time she sang, we were all graced with a glimpse of the divine," the former US president said in a statement.
"In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade - our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect.
She helped us feel more connected to each other, more hopeful, more human."
"And sometimes she helped us just forget about everything else and dance."
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