The singer died at her home in Detroit, Michigan today following a battle with cancer, her publicist said.
Music stars Sir Paul McCartney, Diana Ross, Barbra Streisand, Sir Elton John and Annie Lennox were among those leading the tributes to Franklin.
Lennox wrote: “As the One and Only ‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin was simply peerless. She has reigned supreme. And will always be held in the highest firmament of stars as the most exceptional vocalist, performer and recording artist the world has ever been privileged to witness.
“Superlatives are often used to describe astonishing artists, but in my view even superlatives seem insufficient. Everyone who loved Aretha will be saying little prayers of gratitude, appreciation and respect for the musical life force that enriched our lives.
“Her voice will soar on forever...”
Franklin duetted with Lennox’s band the Eurythmics on the 1985 hit Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves.
Beatles star Sir Paul asked for fans to take a moment to “give thanks to the beautiful life of Aretha Franklin, the Queen of our souls, who inspired us”.
He added, in a tweet: “She will be missed but the memory of her greatness as a musician and a fine human being will live with us forever. Love Paul.”
Streisand shared a picture of herself with Franklin taken six years ago, writing on Instagram: “This photo was taken in 2012 when Aretha and I performed at a tribute celebration for our friend Marvin Hamlisch.
“It’s difficult to conceive of a world without her.
“Not only was she a uniquely brilliant singer, but her commitment to civil rights made an indelible impact on the world.”
Hollywood actress Kate Hudson said that Franklin was a “true inspiration, a constant listen in my youth”, adding that her talent was “magic pure magic”.
Singer Bette Midler mourned the loss of “the greatest voice in America popular music”.
Midler added on Twitter: “Our beloved #ArethaFranklin has gone. For me, she was a musical lighthouse, guiding and inspiring with every note. I loved her so and love her still. Goodbye, Queen of Soul.”
Former Oasis star Liam Gallagher tweeted: “RIP Aretha Franklin what a voice x.”
Singer Paloma Faith wrote on Instagram: “Dearest Aretha, thank you for giving us all your gift, thank you for being the queen of soul and forever in our memories. What a legacy! Rather than commiserate your death I will be celebrating your life for the next few weeks. Love you forever xxx”.
Following Franklin’s death, BBC Radio 2 announced a change in its schedule.
“Following the sad news of the death of music legend Aretha Franklin, you’ll be able to hear a special tribute to The Queen Of Soul presented by Paul Gambaccini, tonight at 9, here on BBC Radio 2,” a statement said.