Hundreds queue for Aretha’s open casket

 

LEGENDARY singer Aretha Franklin will be laid to rest in a glittering gold coffin once her loyal fans have paid their final respects to the true Queen of Soul.

The Sun reports that the singing sensation's body is now lying in state at Detroit's Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.

Hundreds of music lovers slept on the sidewalk overnight to ensure they were among the first to say a farewell to the global star, who died from pancreatic cancer earlier this month.

Franklin was transported to the museum in a classic white LaSalle sedan in the city where she began her career as a child singing in the New Bethel Baptist Church choir.

Outside the museum, the star's adoring fans waited for their chance to say their goodbyes to Franklin, who is dressed in a red dress and heels with matching crimson lipstick in an open casket.

The shiny box - inscribed inside with The Queen of Soul in small gold letters - was surrounded by a spray of soft-pink and lavender-coloured roses.

Museum officials made mourners put away their cell phones before viewing Aretha and quickly ushered them along. Multiple life-size posters of her flanked the entrance and exit of the building.

"She is just iconic. The way she loved and treated individuals, and she always remained down to earth," said Mary Jones, who wore an "I love Aretha" T-shirt and made the four-hour drive from Ohio to pay her respects.

"It's unreal that I'm going to get to say goodbye to her now. It's amazing."

Singer Aretha Franklin performs at the inaugural gala for President Bill Clinton in Washington. Picture: AP
Singer Aretha Franklin performs at the inaugural gala for President Bill Clinton in Washington. Picture: AP

The Wright Museum previously hosted a similar public viewing for civil rights icon Rosa Parks after her 2005 death.

It has now emerged that the megastar did not leave a will - despite having tens of millions stashed in the bank.

Court documents show the I Say a Little Prayer legend had no will at the time of her death, reports US entertainment website TMZ.

The singer's four sons - Clarence, Edward, Teddy White Jr. and Kecalf - will now share equally in her estimated $US80 million estate, in accordance with Michigan state law.

Franklin's funeral is due to take place on August 31, at 10am EST (12am AEST) when her body will be entombed at a family gravesite.

It will be held at the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, Michigan and her body will be entombed at the Woodlawn Cemetery.

The funeral will see the legendary artist's family and closest friends say goodbye to the singer in the private event.

Over a 100 pink Cadillacs are expected to line up outside the church to pay homage to Franklin's song Freeway of Love, in which she sings about a pink Cadillac.

Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Holliday, Jennifer Hudson and Yolanda Adam are set to perform at the service, according to CNN.

Others performing are Faith Hill, Chaka Khan, classical artist Audrey DuBois Harris, soprano Alice McAllister Tillman, Franklin's son Edward Franklin, the Aretha Franklin Orchestra and the Aretha Franklin Celebration Choir.

Music producer Clive Davis is also planning a tribute concert to honour the legend at New York City's Madison Square Garden in November.

This combination photo shows, top row from left, Yolanda Adams, Fantasia, Faith Hill and Jennifer Holliday, and bottom row from left, Jennifer Hudson, Ron Isley, Chaka Khan and Stevie Wonder, who will perform at Aretha Franklin's funeral. Picture: AP
This combination photo shows, top row from left, Yolanda Adams, Fantasia, Faith Hill and Jennifer Holliday, and bottom row from left, Jennifer Hudson, Ron Isley, Chaka Khan and Stevie Wonder, who will perform at Aretha Franklin's funeral. Picture: AP

The singer was born in Memphis, Tennessee, but moved to Detroit when she was five. Rolling Stone magazine recently named her the greatest singer of all time.

Franklin's dazzling music career included classic songs (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman and RESPECT.

The mum-of-four died surrounded by loved ones in the town where she grew up, publicist Gwendolyn Quinn announced.

This article originally appeared in The Sun and is republished here with permission


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