Orlandoans pay respect to legendary soul singer Aretha Franklin

Queen of Soul dies at 76

By Jerry Askin - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - In the hours after news spread Thursday that legendary singer and the undisputed Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin had died, Orlando residents found unique ways to honor the musical icon.

At Chef Eddie’s Restaurant in Parramore, employees and diners had the loss on their minds.

"It definitely brings back memories and she’s going to be greatly missed," owner Eddie James said.

Patrons described Franklin -- known for "Think," "I Say a Little Prayer" and her signature tune "Respect" -- as a diva with class and grace who had her own unique style.

"The unmistakable, I don’t care what she sang or where she was, we know that was ReRe," diehard Aretha fan Royce Flagler said.

Her smooth voice and warm heart touched so many, and it’s why she'll be added to the wall of fame at Chef Eddie’s Restaurant.

"We’re definitely going to keep that spirit alive," James said.

The hope is that her memory will continue to inspire others.

"She represented the strength in women, (not just) African women but all women," fan Zaneta Bailey said.

Franklin died at her home in Detroit on Thursday as a result of advanced pancreatic cancer. She was 76 and her death happened on the same day as King of Rock Elvis Presley's death decades earlier.

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