DETROIT (WJBK) - In the hours after Aretha Franklin died, Detroiters gathered around the church she called home to pray, share grief, and to celebrate her life.
The city and nation is paying respects to the Queen of Soul who was surrounded by friends, family, and faith leaders when she passed away Thursday morning.
The icon was a mother of four, grandmother, aunt and a friend. Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson was one of several high profile visitors praying with her in the days before her death from pancreatic cancer.
"We're sad that we lost Aretha. Heaven has gained her. Earth lost a lot and heaven gained her and has a new lead singer," Jackson said.
A few hours after her death, Aretha got a simple police escort. Her body was in a white hearse, headed towards Swanson Funeral Home to prepare her for burial services. As the small motorcade came by, passerby Debora Hayes-Williams was overcome with emotions.
"And I knew at that time who it was - the Queen," she said."Her spirit is just, overhwhelming. Like I said, she is a queen."
The Queen wowed her father's congregation at New Bethel Baptist Church all those years ago. She continued to hold the church close to her heart and even had a revival in memory of her father C.L. Franklin planned here for this week.
Instead, it's become a tribute to the Queen.