Millions bid farewell as Aretha Franklin lies in state


The 76-year-old Aretha Franklin died of cancer on August 16, bringing down the curtain on a spectacular six-decade career that made her one of America’s most celebrated artists.
Fans of the singer travelled from across the length and breadth of the US to see her lying in state, dressed in red from head to high-heeled shoes, legs crossed at the ankles.
Museum board member Kelly Major Green said the goal was to create a dignified and respectful environment akin to a church, the place where Franklin got her start.
Considered royalty in her Michigan hometown of Detroit, people camped out through the night to pay their respects with some travelling from far and wide, at times breaking into song.
The gospel, soul and R&B star legend influenced generations of singers with unforgettable hits including “Respect” (1967), “Natural Woman” (1968) and “I Say a Little Prayer” (1968).
“She’s the Queen. She’s an icon, a legend. It’s just an honor to be able to be here to pay tribute to her.
Franklin won 18 Grammy awards and provided a soundtrack to the civil rights movement, singing for free to raise money for the cause and uplifting activists with her phenomenal voice and upbeat anthems.
In her 1985 hit “Freeway of Love,” Franklin sang about cruising in a pink Cadillac. More than 100 pink models of the iconic U.S. automobile are expected to file in outside the church on the day of her funeral.
She performed at the inaugurations of presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, singing “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” at the investiture of the country’s first African-American head of state.
She married and divorced twice, and had four sons, including two by the time she was 15 years old. Franklin died surrounded by family and loved ones, from advanced pancreatic cancer.


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