Aretha Franklin lies in gold-plated open coffin as fans pay respects

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She said Franklin's attire and pose communicated both power and comfort, as she did in life.

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.

In 1967, Franklin was honoured with a day named for her and was greeted by long time friend Martin Luther King Jr. who gave her the SCLC Drum Beat Award for Musicians two months before his death.

The funeral for Franklin is set for Friday, at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, with stars including Stevie Wonder and Jennifer Hudson set to perform.

As the world continues to say goodbye to Franklin, who died of pancreatic cancer, the sadness still felt particularly heavy for Thimes, who launched the Mildred Thimes Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer in honor of her mother in 1997.

The singer was born in Memphis, Tennessee, but moved to Detroit when she was five. "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 OH to pay her respects.

"It's just an honor to be able to be here to pay tribute to her", one man told Detroit's Local 4 News.

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The streets outside are expected to be lined with pink Cadillac cars, in a tribute to Franklin's 1985 hit Freeway of Love.

"Her music saved my life in 1997 when I was contemplating suicide", he said.

Owens said she began planning for this week's festivities earlier this year. She grew up with celebrities like The Caravans, Mahalia Jackson, Clara Ward and Sam Cooke who played a pivotal role in her vocal development as a child.

Organizers said it's the ideal way to show the Queen of Soul respect in honor of her death.

The roses that surround the casket, Owens said, reflected her love for the flower and her propensity to send arrangements "in grand fashion". Franklin then married her second husband, actor Glynn Turmann, in 1978 at her father's church which lasted for six years.

The singer was also aware that to pull off such an event, it would require a well-known artist to draw attendees, and naturally, Paul wanted it to be Franklin.

"I was blessed to see her twice", she said.