Aretha Franklin Fans Pay Respects to the Queen of Soul During Open-Casket Visitations in Detroit

Aretha Franklin died at age 76 of pancreatic cancer on Aug. 16


Aretha Franklin fans are saying their final goodbyes to the Queen of Soul.

The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit is hosting two days of public open-casket visitations. Franklin died at age 76 of pancreatic cancer on Aug. 16.

On Tuesday, the first of the two days, hundreds of people, some of whom spent the night on the sidewalk to save their spots in line, showed up to pay their respects, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Franklin’s body was dressed in a red suit and crimson pumps in a gold-plated casket. Gold thread spelled out “Aretha Franklin, The Queen of Soul” in the casket’s lining.

Aretha Franklin, Detroit, USA - 28 Aug 2018
Paul Sancya/AP/REX/Shutterstock

The casket arrived in a white 1940 Cadillac LaSalle hearse, the Detroit Free Press noted. The historic vehicle has also carried the bodies of Franklin’s father Rev. C.L. Franklin in 1984, singer David Ruffin in 1991, and Rosa Parks in 2005.


“It was very moving,” Detroit resident Charlotte Smith told the Detroit Free Press. “She has a beautiful smile. … She looks serene resting as a true queen.”

“She’s the Queen,” Melissa Howard, who traveled from Austin for the event, said to the outlet. “She’s royalty. She’s worth it.”

“She meant so much to so many people,” Frances Billingslea of Detroit said to the Detroit Free Press. “She’s a local talent. She was a down-home spirit. She didn’t put herself above anybody even though she was the Queen of Soul. She did so much for this community.”

RELATED: Inside the Amazing, Private Life of Aretha Franklin

Franklin’s funeral, which will be streamed online and on television, will take place on Friday.

Former president Bill Clinton, Smokey Robinson, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Cicely Tyson, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Clive Davis, and others will speak at the funeral. Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia, Faith Hill, Chaka Khan, and others will perform at the service.

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