Whitney’s mom, legendary gospel singer Cissy Houston, gave a statement to PEOPLE Magazine about Aretha’s passing:
“Aretha was my dear friend who I will deeply miss,” Cissy Houston tells PEOPLE in a statement about the Queen of Soul, who died of pancreatic cancer at age 76 on Thursday morning.
“I have known Aretha for over 50 years, both professionally as her back up singer and then as a friend,” Cissy adds. “We have shared heartbreak, loss, as well as exaltation and great laughter and most importantly our mutual love of God.”
Continuing, she writes, “Although my heart is broken, my soul rejoices that I was able to watch God move through Aretha’s life. God bless you Re, I will always love you.”