Franklin’s last public performance was at Elton’s AIDS Foundation benefit in New York last November (pictured above), where she was noticeably thin but in strong form during throughout her nine-song set. John introduced her as “The greatest singer of all time.” (Read Variety’s recap here.)
“The loss of Aretha Franklin is a blow for everybody who loves real music: Music from the heart, the soul and the Church,” he wrote. “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 the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. 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. #RIPArethaFranklin.”
The loss of @ArethaFranklin 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. pic.twitter.com/ug5oZYywAz
— Elton John (@eltonofficial) August 16, 2018