While former president Barack Obama was unable to attend Aretha Franklin's funeral - a star-studded affair held Friday morning at the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit - he paid his respects to the Queen of Soul in a letter that was read during the service by the Reverend Al Sharpton.
Shirley Caesar and rising gospel singer Tasha Cobbs Leonard sang "How I Got Over", and later, Bishop Paul Morton and Yolanda Adams sang "Mary, Don't You Weep", two songs Franklin famously sang on her 1972 "Amazing Grace" album, the best-selling live gospel album ever.
Michelle and I express our heartfelt sympathies for all of those who gathered in Detroit and we join you in remembering and celebrating the life of the queen of soul. But I will Say while teaching me about your life, u taught me so much about life and schooled me in mine.
The church's choir sang Franklin's "Say a Little Prayer" and her version of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" as mourners arrived. The Clark Sisters, Faith Hill, Jennifer Hudson, Ariana Grande, Chaka Khan and Stevie Wonder were scheduled to perform. "She gave us a regal bar to reach", Sharpton said. 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 worked above you".
"It said, 'He did it until he got it right", Northern told the publication. "And the world is mourning you and the world is going to miss you". "I love her. She was my longest friend".
The former president recalled being an "Aretha groupie" all his life and being thrilled to meet her backstage at her last public performance, a benefit in Harlem for Elton John's AIDS charity previous year.
"Really gonna miss you, really gonna be different without you", he sang.
Bush's statement, read by Franklin friend Barbara Sampson, called Franklin "a woman of achievement with a deep character and a loving heart" who made "lasting contributions to American music with her gospel-inspired style and distinctive voice". I would always shrug my shoulders and go I don't know.
"Nothing sounded better to me than the way my grandma sings", Victorie Franklin said.