Between the star-studded appearances and heartfelt tributes, here's how family, friends and famous fans said goodbye to the "Queen of Soul". Guests included former President Bill Clinton, former first lady Hillary Clinton, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson. "We were both little girls, and I say little girls even though, you know, we have, like, three or four years between us, but we had that same road to go and over the years I saw her grow and hopefully she saw me grow", she said.
Aretha Louise Franklin, singer, songwriter and civil rights activist, was laid to rest Friday in an epic funeral that stretched from morning to evening in a massive Detroit church packed with celebrities, elected officials, religious leaders and hundreds of regular fans.
We are going to end this program where we started it - by remembering a towering figure from American life. At Friday's service, Caesar sang with, by comparison, a more up-and-coming gospel artist, Tasha Cobbs-Leonard - who is, in her own right, one of the most popular musicians in gospel today. Williams' eulogy was met with a mixed reception, with some people showing support but others seeming to think he was off-topic.
Stevie Wonder went on to repeat his paraphrasing of Donald Trump's slogan, saying that Aretha Franklin helped "make love great again" despite the numerous personal and professional challenges she faced in her career.
Wonder sang "As" after delivering a speech that emphasized the power of love.
"I'd like to clarify that Aretha and I discussed both of us having cancer, mine was stage 1 breast cancer and hers was pancreatic", Knight's statement, issued by Schwartz on her behalf, began.
Two other former presidents, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, did not attend the ceremony but their tributes were read out to mourners. Over decades, she increased her musical reach to wider forms of expression but stayed true to her beginnings. "She had the voice of generation", Clinton said.
"She worked her can off to get where she was".
Shepherded in through a long line of pink Cadillacs _ the vehicle she sung about in the song "Freeway of Love" _ parked along the road near the church, Franklin's body arrived about 7:30 a.m.in a white 1940 LaSalle hearse. They talked about the tainted water supply in Flint. "She said, 'You know how I am with my bank account!"
Franklin died August 16 at age 76. She wore a shimmering gold dress, with sequined heels - the fourth outfit Franklin was clothed in during a week of events leading up to her funeral. Some fans were admitted into the church to sit behind Franklin's family.
They are a nod to her 1985 hit "Freeway of Love", an anthem to her Motor City hometown.
In an interview with ET earlier this week, Knight reflected on her and Franklin's similar rise to fame.
Grandson Jordan directed his remarks directly to Franklin, frequently stopping to fight back tears. She never told me, 'No, I don't want to do one.' She understood the need.