Ariana Grande to Perform at Aretha Franklin's Funeral: She 'Was Fond of' the Pop Star
Aretha Franklin died of pancreatic cancer at age 76 earlier this month
Ariana Grande will give a send-off to the Queen of Soul.
Grande, 25, is set to sing at Aretha Franklin‘s funeral on Friday, the Detroit Free Press reported. She joins a star-studded list of performers that includes Stevie Wonder, Faith Hill, Shirley Caesar, Chaka Khan, Jennifer Hudson, Yolanda Adams, Marvin Sapp and Vanessa Bell Armstrong.
Gwendolyn Quinn, a Franklin family spokeswoman, did not immediately return PEOPLE’s request for comment about Grande’s addition to the line-up.
Quinn told the Free Press of Grande, “Aretha was fond of her.” She noted that Franklin’s family appreciated Grande’s tribute to Franklin, who died of pancreatic cancer at age 76, on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon earlier this month.
On The Tonight Show, Grande cried while singing Franklin’s hit “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.”
“I met her a few times. We sang at the White House, and she was so sweet, and she was so cute,” Grande told Fallon. “I was like, ‘How are you a real person?’ It’s an honor to have met her, and we’re gonna celebrate her.”
Grande continued, “She called me one time. It was one time only. She called me. She goes, ‘Hi, it’s Aretha.’ And I was like, ‘Franklin?’ ”
Even as Grande’s fans wondered if Franklin’s death would overshadow Grande’s release of her new album Sweetener, the young pop star shared two Instagram posts in honor of Franklin. “Forever,” she wrote alongside a video of Franklin singing “I Say a Little Prayer.”
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