"At that time, we shared the fact that we had the same disease", Knight said.
But the iconic star's funeral became shrouded in controversy, after viewers of the "homecoming" service - which was broadcast around the world - claimed that Bishop Charles H Ellis inappropriately touched singer Ariana Grande, 25. Some of the performers, including Stevie Wonder, counted Aretha Franklin as a friend and colleague for many decades.
Later, one of Franklin's grandchildren spoke to and of his famous grandmother.
Some fans were admitted into the church to sit behind Franklin's family. Hill was backed during her performance by a gospel choir. Many also mentioned her father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin, and his civil rights leadership, which influenced his daughter from a young age.
Singer/songwriter Smokey Robinson bid goodbye to his childhood friend, blowing a kiss toward her coffin and singing: "I miss you my buddy, I miss you my friend, I know that my love for you will never end". "God bless you, Aretha, we love you".
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced during the service that the city would rename the riverfront amphitheater Chene Park to "Aretha Franklin Park". Today, she will be buried with all the pomp and splendor one would expect for a royal funeral. "She worked for us".
Late Friday, Franklin was laid to rest in a mausoleum at Woodlawn Cemetery, the final resting place of her father.
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Some heirs, like Franklin's son Clarence, may need more than others, and that can be a hard and touchy decision for a parent, Zwicker said.
Two other former presidents, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, did not attend the ceremony but their tributes were read out to mourners.
He said Franklin's life was a message to young people that they must work hard to achieve their dreams.
"Even though you knew over the last couple of months that she was sick and you knew this day was coming and you thought you would be prepared for it - but now that it's here it really is overwhelming", he said.
"And I hope she don't mind, I don't think she would, but I think I'm gonna come out of my shoes", the Grammy Award-winning singer said before belting out the classic tune that got the entire congregation on its feet.
Bill Clinton, who was president from 1993 until 2001, led the tributes to "the voice of a generation, maybe the voice of a century".
The daughter of a prominent Baptist preacher and civil rights activist, she sang at the funeral of Martin Luther King Jr, as well as the inaugurations of presidents Clinton and Obama.