Legendary singer and actress Lena Horne, who became the first African-American to sign a long-term contract with a major movie studio, died in New York Sunday, May 9, The New York Times reported. She was best-known for her performance of the song "Stormy Weather" from the 1943 movie musical of the same name.
In the wake of the news of Lena Horne's death at age 92 on Sunday, her colleagues, fellow members of the music community and celebrity fans reacted with messages of condolence and sadness on Monday.
Longtime friend and producer Quincy Jones remember the music legend – someone he called a friend for almost 50 years.
"It is difficult to find the words to describe the immense sadness that I have today with the loss of my dear, dear friend Lena Horne. Lena put the D in Diva in the best sense of the word. Our friendship dated back more than 50 years and continued up until the last moment, her inner and outer beauty immediately bonding us forever," he said in a statement to Access Hollywood. "Lena Horne was a pioneering groundbreaker, making in-roads into a world that had never before been explored by African-American women, and she did it on her own terms. Our nation and the world has lost one of the great artistic icons of the 20th century. There will never be another like Lena Horne and I will miss her deeply."
Fellow songstress Liza Minnelli told Access, "My father discovered Lena Horne and brought her to Hollywood to star in 'Cabin in the Sky,' which has throughout the years owned the position as being the first elegant and unique all black movie. It made Lena a star. I knew her from the time I was born, and whenever I needed anything she was there. She was funny, sophisticated and truly one of a kind. We lost an original. Thank you Lena."
"RIP to the QUEEN LENA HORNE!!!!! we thank you for all the doors that you have opened! we love you! WE MISS YOU!" Diddy wrote.
Alicia Keys also Tweeted a message, reminding people what an inspiration the star was.
"Wow! Lena Horne! What an incredible woman & story of triumph! May we all kno tht life is a journey of possibility as long as we hang on," she wrote.
"CSI: NY" star Hill Harper wrote, "Lena Horne represented beauty, grace, intelligence & class. She opened doors for all of us who followed. May she rest in blessed peace."
Essence magazine Editor-in-Chief Angela Burt-Murray also remembered the great singer, saying in a statement, "Essence mourns the loss of Lena Horne. With tremendous talent, striking beauty and grace, she persevered through the difficult circumstances of racial intolerance. She not only delighted us with her talent, but inspired us with her personal calling as an advocate for civil rights. Lena Horne is an American treasure and she lived life to the fullest with passion, purpose and responsibility."
Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow also praised the singer, who was honored with multiple Grammys over her career.
"The incomparable Lena Horne had a sultry voice and mesmerizing stage presence that were instantly recognizable. A two-time Grammy winner and Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, she embraced activism and used her talent to fight for civil rights, helping to break down racial barriers for other singers and actors who would follow," Portnow said in a statement to Access. "Her timeless legacy will forever be celebrated as part of the fabric of American popular music, and our deepest sympathies go out to her family, friends, and fans worldwide as we all mourn the loss of one of music's signature voices."
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