The Detroit Free Press reported Thursday that Aretha Franklin’s family is in the process of coordinating memorial and funeral plans after the Queen of Soul’s death from pancreatic cancer Thursday morning. The soul singer was 76.
A number of different events including memorials are expected to be held in Detroit, Franklin’s publicist and family spokeswoman Gwendolyn Quinn said. Swanson Funeral Home of Detroit is handling the arrangements for her funeral.
The music icon and legendary singer had a musical career that spanned more than 60 years. Her hits “Respect,” from 1967 and “Natural Woman” from 1968 are among the world’s most famous and recognizable songs.
Some had speculated that her funeral would be held in the church where she grew up, and recorded her first album, New Nethel Baptist Church.
Her father, C. L. Franklin, known as the ‘Million Dollar Voice,’ was the longtime pastor of the famous Detroit West Side church where Aretha first sang publicly.
When it was announced that the soul diva, legend and musical icon died Thursday morning, Quinn issued the following statement:
“In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in your heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins new no bounds.”
“”We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and fans all around the world thank you for your compassion and prayers. We have felt your love for Rita and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.
There’s been some speculation that the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., a longtime close friend of Aretha’s, might be the one to eulogize her. That has not been confirmed. Jackson spoke about her today.
“Earth lost her, but Heaven has gained her,” he said. “Heaven’s choir has a new lead singer.”
Jackson said the last few years, “Aretha suffered so much, God is merciful. He brought her home.”
At the Motown Museum, a memorial book was placed shortly after it was announced she’d died.
At the funeral of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in 1968, Aretha sang “Precious Lord Take Me Hand,” a song, she said, that “he’d always request, a song with long strong arms …”
A tribute concert is being organized, Cassimy reported.
“They are working on a musical tribute with major recording artists. The venue for the tribute is still being decided.”