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Aretha Franklin's funeral arrangements have been announced

The funeral will take place after a two-day public viewing and it will be limited to family, friends and invited guests.

Image: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

THE FUNERAL OF legendary singer Aretha Franklin will be held in her hometown Detroit on 31 August, after a two-day public viewing at a city museum to allow fans to mourn.

Plans for the final farewell to the “Queen of Soul” – who died on Thursday at age 76 after a battle with pancreatic cancer – started coming together as tributes poured in from around the world, and fans congregated at key sites in the city, the home of Motown.

The funeral at Greater Grace Temple – which seats about 4,000 people – will be limited to family, friends and invited guests, expected to range from music royalty to dignitaries from around the world.

On August 28 and 29, fans will be able to say a final farewell at a public viewing staged at the Charles H Wright Museum of African-American History. The visitation will last 12 hours each day, according to Franklin’s publicist Gwendolyn Quinn.

Franklin is to buried with other members of her family at Woodlawn Cemetery.

The days-long celebration of Franklin’s life is also expected to include a tribute concert, but details of that event were not immediately available.

Obit Aretha Franklin A makeshift memorial for Aretha Franklin in Detroit. Source: Frank Franklin II

Franklin – an 18-time Grammy winner with a clear, rich voice able to span musical genres – influenced generations of singers with unforgettable hits including “Respect” (1967), “Natural Woman” (1968) and “I Say a Little Prayer” (1968).

Yesterday, fans continued to pay their respects, leaving mementos outside her father’s New Bethel Baptist Church and queuing outside the Motown Museum, which will play her music on loudspeakers through the weekend and is hosting a book of condolence.

“It’s just been amazing. Of course we’re all very saddened and heartbroken with the thought of her passing, but people are flocking to the museum,” general manager Sheila Spencer told AFP.

She performed at our gala for our 20th anniversary and it was a phenomenal, phenomenal performance. So we’re just so honored.

At the Motown Museum, Fred Zilian, a university teacher from Rhode Island on a reunion with classmates from the US military academy West Point, danced with his wife to an Aretha track.

“I want to be sad because we lost Aretha Franklin, but I had to go in the street and dance,” he told AFP, remembering how he loved her music and those of black artists who recorded at Motown in the 1960s.

Obit Aretha Franklin A sign in memory of Aretha Franklin in Detroit. Source: Paul Sancya

“The country was riven by race relations tension and we, you can see, are all white – we didn’t give a damn,” he said. “It’s really a statement about the unifying effect that music can have.”

In 2005, Franklin was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest award for a US civilian, by then-president George W Bush.

In 2010, she suffered serious health problems, but continued to perform until last year, her last public performance in November 2017 for the Elton John AIDS Foundation in New York.

© – AFP 2018

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