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Elton John & David Furnish pay tribute to Aretha

The loss of Aretha Franklin is a blow for everybody who loves real music: Music from the heart, the soul and the Church. Her voice was unique, her piano playing underrated – she was one of my favourite pianists. I was fortunate enough to spend time with her and witness her last performance – a benefit for the Elton John AIDS Foundation at St John The Divine Cathedral. She was obviously unwell, and I wasn’t sure she could perform. But Aretha did and she raised the roof. She sang and played magnificently, and we all wept. We were witnessing the greatest soul artist of all time. I adored her and worshipped her talent. God bless her. My condolences to all her family and friends. We shared the same birthday – and that meant so much to me. The whole world will miss her but will always rejoice in her remarkable legacy. The Queen is dead. Long live the Queen. @arethasings #RIP #ArethaFranklin #QueenOfSoul @ejaf

A post shared by Elton John (@eltonjohn) on

There are moments in your life that you never forget. I took this photo of Aretha Franklin at what turned out to be her very last performance. It was at a benefit for the Elton John AIDS Foundation at the spectacular Cathedral of St John The Divine in New York. Elton and I went to greet her before the show and were taken aback at how thin and frail she appeared. She looked at Elton with the sweetest smile and said “I didn’t want to let you down”. Such class. The performance she generously gave everyone was overwhelmingly moving. There she was channeling the spirit of GOD in that beautiful church surrounded by the most dazzling backdrop of candles. Everyone in that room knew they were witnessing something truly special that night. She played and sang magnificently. You can see Elton in the foreground of this photo completely enraptured. He couldn’t stop crying. He knew he was probably seeing one of his greatest musical inspirations and idols for the very last time. How fitting that her final performance was in that beautiful church. How fitting that her final way of saying goodbye was by helping others and saving lives. Aretha Franklin shared a gift of musical talent of bountiful enormity. She brought the world so much joy and happiness. She touched our souls with her beautiful humanity. God bless her and all her family and friends. Her spirit will live on through her music and continue to touch so many lives for generations to come. @arethasings @eltonjohn @ejaf @ejafdn #RIP #ArethaFranklin #QueenOfSoul

A post shared by David Furnish (@davidfurnish) on

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