Gloria Estefan praised Aretha Franklin as the ultimate inspiration for any girl aspiring to sing, or any fan that wanted to appreciate a true master of their craft. Franklin died Thursday of pancreatic cancer at age 76.
In a note on Instagram, Estefan said of her VH1 Divas partner, “For as long as I can remember, Aretha Franklin has been the absolute zenith, the guiding light, the master for any girl that aspired to sing or even just appreciated someone at the top of their game.”
Estefan said she was “blessed” to share the stage with Franklin on several occasions, saying, “Each time I felt I was in the presence of musical royalty that would forever raise the bar and set the standard.” She added, “Long live the Queen of Soul through her extraordinary and singular voice and her indelible music.”
Estefan and Franklin shared the stage at VH1’s 1998 Divas special, where they performed “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” alongside Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Shania Twain and Carole King. A live version of that same track, featuring Franklin, Estefan and Bonnie Raitt, appeared on the Queen of Soul’s 1994 compilation album, Greatest Hits: 1980 – 1994. During Franklin’s 1993 TV special, Duets, she and Estefan partnered for a rendition of “Coming Out of the Dark.”