Aretha Franklin’s fans are now lining up to pay their respects to the soul singer as she lies in repose.
The Respect singer is lying in state in a gold coffin as the preparations ahead of her funeral ceremony on Thursday commence.
While Aretha’s body is now lying in repose at Charles H Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, fans have been lining up to visit her inside.
It’s believed Aretha’s coffin is an open casket.
After two days, Aretha will move to the Chene Park Amphitheatre in Detroit where Bill Clinton has been announced as one of the speakers.
The former President, as well as Rev Jesse Jackson, Rev Al Sharpton and Motown legend Smokey Robnson will be among the speakers confirmed for the service.
Her memorial at Chene Park will be held on 30 August.
She will then be laid to rest the next day, with Stevie Wonder and Jennifer Hudson rumoured to perform at her official funeral – which will reflect her ‘strong gospel roots’ and will be held at the Greater Grace Temple.
Only her close friends and family are due to attend.
Aretha died earlier this month following a long battle with ill health.
The legendary singer’s death at the age of 76 was announced by her publicist, who revealed she died at her home in Detroit on Thursday 16 August.
Franklin died following a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
A statement read: ‘Franklin’s official cause of death was due to advance pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, which was confirmed by Franklin’s oncologist, Dr. Philip Phillips of Karmanos Cancer Institute.’
Rumours of her worsening ill health emerged earlier this year year following her retirement from music at the age of 74.
In an interview with Detroit TV station WDIV Local 4 at the start of 2017, she had said: ‘I must tell you, I am retiring this year.
‘This will be my last year. I will be recording, but this will be my last year in concert. This is it.’
Franklin claimed she will still be doing ‘some select things, many one a month, for six months out of the year’.
She added: ‘I feel very, very enriched and satisfied with respect to where my career came from, and where it is now.’
In July, she then announced she is to release a new album with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Reports have claimed she could have been battling the disease for eight years, however this has not been confirmed by her family.
The Detroit native had been ‘gravely ill’ for several days, and died surrounded by friends and family, who asked for prayers.
Aretha Franklin's family statement in full
‘In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew 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 Aretha 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.’
Funeral arrangements are expected to be announced over the coming days.
Franklin – who was dubbed The Queen of Soul – was best known for her hit songs Respect (You Make Me Feel) A Natural Woman, Think and Spanish Harlem.
The American legend was said to be ‘extremely disappointed’ when she was forced to pull out of one of her last shows in March 2018.
The star had previously cancelled another date in August 2017, when she dropped out of headlining the Martha’s Vineyard Concert series at the Tabernacle in Oak Bluffs, due to an undisclosed medical condition.
Radio host Tom Joyner, a close friend of Franklin’s, announced before her death that the 18-time Grammy winner has been in hospice care for a week; sources close to Aretha told TMZ they had been informed a week prior to ‘prepare yourself, she’s dying.’
The insider added to the publication that Aretha was down to 86 pounds and her health was failing and that they were told ‘she could go any time.’
The star has suffered from ill health in recent years and cancelled a number of gigs in 2010 to have emergency surgery. She denied reports that she had pancreatic cancer a few years later, although later admitted to having had a tumour removed.
The actor had previously called time on her legendary career, following one final album release, a collaboration with Stevie Wonder which was released last September.
She said at the time: ‘I must tell you, I am retiring this year. I feel very, very enriched and satisfied with respect to where my career came from and where it is now.’
One of her final performances was in December 2015, when she gave a spine-chillingly brilliant performance of (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors during the section for honoree Carole King, who co-wrote the song.