Watch Aretha Franklin's Star-Studded Funeral Live


Aretha Franklin's passing earlier this month was a tragic moment in the music community.

Michelle and I express our heartfelt sympathies for all of those who gathered in Detroit and we join you in remembering and celebrating the life of the queen of soul.

Floral arrangements from such singers as Barbra Streisand and Tony Bennett and from the family of Otis Redding, whose "Respect" Franklin transformed and made her signature song, were set up in a hallway outside the sanctuary.

Among those performing tributes for Franklin, aside from Grande and Wonder, will be Faith Hill, Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia and Jennifer Holliday.

A rousing gospel choir greeted attendees who took their seats in the pews as the processional began, and before long many were on their feet, singing and clapping along.

Ever the diva, Franklin's outfit was the third "costume change" over the course of her several viewings since her death on 16 August: this final time, a rose gold gown. Rest in Peace to the Queen of Soul.

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The crowd at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit broke out in applause as Sharpton concluded, "Aretha truly was one of a kind, and as you pay tribute, know we'll be saying a little prayer for you and we'll be thinking of all of Aretha's loved ones in the days and weeks to come".

Scheduled remarks from former President Bill Clinton, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and the Rev. Jesse Jackson signify Franklin's political and social influence.

Robinson said he will just make it "personal", since he remained close with Franklin until the end. "She was your friend, she was your mother, she was your aunt, and we're certainly going to miss that because she was always a Detroiter and never, never shied away from that ..."

The funeral service will also be aired in its entirety on SiriusXM satellite radio's Channel 49, the soul-music station that's been temporarily dubbed "The Aretha Franklin Tribute Channel".

Workers carefully moved Franklin's polished bronze casket from the rotunda of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and loaded it in to a 1940 Cadillac LaSalle hearse. 'We used to talk about that - we saw a lot of soldiers go'.