Madonna Tributes 'Lady Of Soul' Aretha Franklin At 2018 VMAs

By Paris Close

August 21, 2018

Madonna celebrated the Queen of Soul with a touching tribute at the 2018 Video Music Awards.

The pop phenom memorialized the legacy of Aretha Franklin with a beautiful speech and anecdote dedicated to the late luminary during MTV's annual event Monday night (August 20). "Aretha Louise Franklin changed the course of my life," she began, before sharing how singing the soul legend's "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" during an audition helped jumpstart her career as a musician.

"None of this would have happened, could have happened, without our lady of soul," she continued. "She led me to where I am today. And I know she influenced so many people in this house night. In this room tonight. And I want to thank you, Aretha, for empowering all of us."

The "Like A Virgin" artist's moving VMAs eulogy comes less than a week of Franklin's passing. The "Respect" chanteuse lost her fight with pancreatic cancer on Wednesday (August 16) in her hometown of Detroit at age 76.

A legendary one-of-a-kind talent, Franklin achieved a myriad of achievements in her lifetime. She had 20 number one singles, among them: "Respect," "Bridge Over Troubled Water," and "Chain of Fools." In 1987, she became the first woman inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She's won 18 Grammy Awards, in addition to other Grammy-centric honors like the Grammy Legend Award (1991) and Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (1994).

In the days preceding her unfortunate death, it was reported that she had become "gravely ill" due to her declining health and was nearing the final moments of her life. Franklin suffered many medical ailments in her lifetime, most notably those related to her weight, which she struggled with for years.

Show executive producer Jesse Ignjatovic first confirmed Franklin's homage to The Associated Press on Sunday (August 19), telling the outlet that his team was searching for the "right tone and the right artist" to celebrate her legacy. The figure doing the honors had yet been announced, though Ignjatovic reassured, "Whether it's a performance or spoken — just something that's organic and done in a way that feels tonally right because it's Aretha Franklin."

Photo: Getty Images

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