Gladys Knight ‘reveals she has cancer at Aretha Franklin’s funeral’

Dignitaries and celebrities alike filled Detroit's Greater Grace Temple Friday morning in a funeral that was fit for the "Queen of Soul".

The body of Franklin, who died aged 76 from pancreatic cancer, has been transported to the service in a 1940s vintage hearse, which carried both Rosa Parks and her father.

Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Tyler Perry, Whoppi Goldberg, Stevie Wonder, the Rev. Al Sharpton, Faith Hill, T.D. Jakes, Jennifer Holliday, Jesse Jackson, Omarosa Manigault Newman, Rep. Maxine Waters, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan were all spotted.

Mayor Mike Duggan announced at the service that he meant to have the city's riverfront Chene Park renamed in Franklin's honor. 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. She was backed by a small group of soulful backup singers, and moved several members of the crowd - which included her fiancé, Pete Davidson, and former President Bill Clinton - to sing along.

Friday's service will touch on Franklin's significance to her friends, family and fans, organizers told CNN.

She also received a Kennedy Center Honor during his time in office. "We really celebrate because we really recognize that those we call the dearly departed, they wouldn't want for us to cry and be sad and sorrowful".

In 1980, Franklin performed for Queen Elizabeth II at Royal Albert Hall in London.

Speaking to US Weekly on Monday (August 27), Knight spoke about Aretha's death and got reflective on her own life.

Meanwhile, the 25-year-old's choice of funeral attire drew criticism on social media for being a bit too revealing for church. "We used to talk about that - we saw a lot of soldiers go".

Clinton said that before he and his wife were famous politicians, they were simply an "Aretha groupies".

Owens said Franklin loved fiercely and was the family's matriarch.

She influenced generations of female singers from the late Whitney Houston to Beyonce, with unforgettable hits including "Respect" (1967), "Natural Woman" (1968) and "I Say a Little Prayer" (1968).

  • Jacqueline Ellis