Tributes pour in for Aretha Franklin
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President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama not attending the funeral by Aretha Franklin on Friday in Detroit and have instead sent a letter that will be read during the service.
A spokeswoman for the family, Katie Hill, confirmed Wednesday the Detroit Free Press that the obama’s will not be present, adding that the Rev. Al Sharpton will read the letter.
Former President George W. Bush has also sent a letter that will be read during the service for Franklin, the legendary singer who died of pancreatic cancer Aug. 16 at the age of 76, the newspaper.
Obama, but instead, offer a song of praise together with Bush on Saturday morning in the National Cathedral in Washington, D. C., for the end of the AMERICAN Sen. John McCain, who succumbed to brain cancer Aug. 25 at age 81.
After the death of Franklin, the Obama family released a touching statement, celebrating the life of the music icon.
“America has no royalty. But we have a chance to earn something more permanent. Born in Memphis and raised in Detroit, Aretha Franklin grew up performing gospel songs in her father’s church. For more than six decades after every time she sang, we were all rewarded with a glimpse of the divine,” the obama’s wrote.
“By her compositions and an unmatched musical prowess, Aretha helped to define the American experience. In her voice, we felt our history, and in every colour — our strength and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-earned respect. They helped us feel more connected with each other, more hope, more human. And sometimes, she helped us just forget about everything and dance,” she continued.
“But I have passed on to a better place, but the gift of her music continues to inspire us. Can the Queen of Soul to rest in peace. Michelle and I send our prayers and warmest sympathy to her family and all who are moved by her song,” the family added.
Franklin was one of the best selling artists of all time. The soul icon had a long history with the presidents, often performing for them. In 1977, she sang at former President Jimmy Carter, the First Gala. She also has famous performed at Obama’s January 2009 inauguration.
“The Queen of Soul to rest in peace. Michelle and I send our prayers and warmest sympathy to her family and all who are moved by her song.”
– The Obama family
Franklin’s funeral will feature other high-profile guests and speakers. Former President Bill Clinton, for whom Franklin sang during his inaugural ceremony in 1993, and later at the White House Correspondents Association annual dinner in 1999, will reportedly be in attendance, the Free Press reported.
Clinton awarded Franklin with the National Medal of Arts and Humanities, is expected to speak in the course of Friday is the funeral.
Lukas Mikelionis is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @LukasMikelionis.