Aretha Franklin covered burial expenses of needy

DETROIT MI- AUGUST 16 A sign on the Fox Theater in downtown Detroit commemorates the passing of singer Aretha Franklin the

The Queen of Soul was calling to personally invite Thimes to attend and sing at her birthday party at the Ritz Carlton in New York City.

The body of the legendary singer is to lie in honor for public visitation starting at 9 a.m.at the museum.

VIPs aren't expected to be limited to the musical kind: Scheduled to speak at the service is former President Bill Clinton, whose inaugurations featured performances by Franklin. It's part of a week of mourning - and celebration - to honor Franklin, Detroit's hometown superstar, who died August 16 of advanced pancreatic cancer at the age of 76.

Fans, friends and family are ready paying their final respects today to Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul who died August 16 at 76.

"I saw the gold-plated casket - it dawned on me: She's gone, but her legacy and her music will live on forever".

That sentiment was echoed among her hometown fans.

Tammy Gibson, 49, from Chicago, said she arrived at about 5.30am. "She loved the city of Detroit and the city of Detroit loved her". "Numerous people you see are here because they were blessed by her big heart and her desire to reach beyond the boundaries of her own success and touch others".

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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.

Latonya McIntrye, 43, of Las Vegas also flew in to pay her respects.

Aretha Franklin had admirers the world over, but there's no doubt the flame burned brightest in Detroit — the place she was raised and remained for most of her life.

The vehicle which carried Franklin's body Tuesday also transported civil rights icon Rosa Parks in 2005 and Temptations singer David Ruffin in 1991.

One of those fans, Cheryl Matthews, never met Franklin but felt close - and hurt by the loss.

"It was nothing for Miss Franklin to call us", she said.

"I sort of had pre-information that it was going down and [that Franklin's health] was getting worse, and it's just been really hard", said Thimes, whose late father, radio legend Lou "Fatha" Thimes, promoted a couple of Franklin's St. Louis concerts decades ago. Her brother, Timothy Robinson, lives in Eastpointe and came with her about 9 p.m. Monday to get a good spot in line.

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