Aretha Franklin Fans Pay Their Final Respects to Singer With Public Viewings in Detroit

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Fans are paying their final respects to Aretha Franklin.

Those whose lives were inspired by the late Queen of Soul are gathering together at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan, on Tuesday and Wednesday for public viewings of her gold-plated casket.

Franklin, dressed in red from head to toe, will lie in repose for a couple of days, in a "Queen of Soul"-inscribed casket surrounded by roses of varying colors, as her gospel recordings play in the background. According to an eyewitness, massive bouquets of pink flowers from friends and family also surround her, including a red rose bouquet shaped in a heart from her grandchildren.

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The Detroit Free Press reports that Franklin's body was transported to the museum in a vintage 1940 Cadillac LaSalle hearse, which previously carried her father, Rec. C.L. Franklin, and civil rights icon Rosa Parks following their respective deaths in 1984 and 2005.

JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images
JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images

As the guests arrived -- many from Detroit, but some who traveled as far as Las Vegas and Miami -- they were given cards honoring Franklin's legacy. "Aretha Franklin is a giant of soul music an American national treasure who continued to be revered around the globe," part of the passage on the back of the pamphlet read. "She is both a 20th and 21st century musical and cultural icon who is known all over the world simply by her first name: Aretha."

In addition to the public viewings, fans can watch musical tributes to Franklin at Chene Park's riverfront amphitheater on Thursday evening, which will feature Gladys Knight, Johnny Gill, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Angie Stone, The Four Tops and Keith Washington.

A funeral for friends and family only will be held on Friday at Detroit's Greater Grace Temple, where former President Bill Clinton is expected to speak, along with Clive Davis, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Cicely Tyson and Revs. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Bishop T. D. Jakes, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Stars like Stevie Wonder, Faith Hill, Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia, Jennifer Holliday and Franklin's son, Edward, will perform, as a way to honor the legendary singer's strong gospel roots. 

Detroit has always been a special place for Franklin, as it's where she was raised and spent most of her life. The Greater Grace Temple is asking locals with pink Cadillacs to line up before the funeral in hopes of creating a "Freeway of Love," a nod to Franklin's classic '80s tune.

As ET previously reported, Franklin died on Aug. 16 from pancreatic cancer. She was 76. Hear more on how Franklin's family, fans and celebrity friends are paying tribute to her in the video below.

Additional reporting by Angelique Jackson.

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