Former President Bill Clinton honored the late "Queen of Soul," Aretha Franklin, during her funeral service in Detroit on Friday.

Clinton was joined by several other famous attendees, including Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan, Whoopi Goldberg, Gov. Rick Snyder (R-Mich.), Smokey Robinson, Jesse Jackson Sr. and Hillary Clinton.

Clinton said that before he and his wife were famous politicians, they were simply an "Aretha groupies."

He said Franklin's life was a message to young people that they must work hard to achieve their dreams.

Franklin, who died earlier this month at age 76, began singing in her father's church before she became a national name.


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"I just loved her," he said, adding that he was honored to have met her later in life.

He said he was privileged to have been present for her last public performance, at an AIDS benefit event organized by Elton John that took place at the largest church in New York City.

Clinton said he walked into the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on W. 110th Street and was surprised that Franklin summoned him to meet with her privately and talk a bit before the festivities.

Clinton said that Franklin appeared to be very ill, but that she still spent 45 minutes singing in front of the crowd in West Harlem.


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