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Live Updates

By Kev Geoghegan & Paul Glynn

All times stated are UK

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  1. Natural Woman

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    The almost seven hour service has drawn to a close.

    Thank you for joining us this afternoon/evening to help bid an official farewell to the Queen of Soul.

    Scroll down for performances and speeches from Aretha's family, as well as stars including Ariana Grande, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Faith Hill, Jennifer Hudson, Gladys Knight and many many more during the seven and half hour ceremony at the Greater Grace Temple in her hometown Detroit.

    RIP Aretha.

    Thank you for the music and for continuing to inspire so many others.

  2. Jennifer Holliday sings Aretha off

    Jennifer Holliday

    A final Lord's Prayer has been said.

    Now Jennifer Holliday and the Aretha Franklin Celebration Choir are providing the soundtrack to Aretha's gold casket being led out of the church.

    Everyone inside are now up on their feet and will follow out shortly.

  3. Stevie Wonder: 'We need to make love great again'

    Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder

    After performing an extended harmonica solo, Stevie paid tribute to his friend.

    "Without God's goodness and greatness, we would never have known the Queen of Soul, we would have never known the joy she brought to us, someone who could express in song the pain that we felt.

    "The reason we are here today is because of love, because of how much we love this woman.

    "Across this nation and across the world we need to make love great again, because black lives DO matter, because all lives matter."

    Stevie Wonder

    The last comment possibly a dig at previous speaker, Reverend Jasper Williams Jr.

    Stevie then performed his 1976 track, I'll Be Loving You Always, which was later covered by George Michael and Mary J Blige.

    "I want everyone to sing along, I'd appreciate it... if you don't, I'll see you later," he joked.

    The 68-year-old was at Aretha's bedside, shortly before her death two weeks ago.

  4. Surprise performer Gladys Knight sings You'll Never Walk Alone

    Gladys Knight

    The Motown star sang at the last night's official tribute concert but she wasn't listed as a performer tonight.

    Now she's arrived on stage at the seventh hour of proceedings at Greater Grace Temple.

    She belted out a heartfelt rendition of the song from the musical Carousel, which Liverpool and Celtic FC fans reading will know well, as well Paul Simon's Bridge Over Troubled Water.

    Barring anymore surprises, Stevie Wonder is surely up next.

  5. Rev Jasper Williams Jr gives official eulogy

    Jasper Williams

    We're coming towards the end of the ceremony now.

    Rev. Jasper Williams Jr, the Pastor at Salem Baptist Church, Atlanta, is delivering a rather lengthy official eulogy now.

    He delivered the eulogy at Aretha's father CL Franklin's funeral too.

    Some of his views on the role of black women in the home appear to have caused much conjecture online.

    He should wrap up his half hour speech soon so we can watch a bit of Stevie Wonder.

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  6. Aretha's funeral in pictures

    Mourners outside the service

    Stars and fans gathered to mourn the soul singer, who died earlier this month from pancreatic cancer at the age of 76.

    Chaka Khan, Ariana Grande and Smokey Robinson are among those who performed and paid tribute during the six-hour service.

    Here are some pictures from the ceremony.

    Aretha Franklin's funeral
  7. Jennifer Hudson delivers Amazing Grace

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    The US pop singer and Oscar-winner, who rose to fame in 2004 as a finalist on the third season of American Idol, hit every note on the musical scale with her rendition of Amazing Grace.

    Hudson, who was recently a coach on The Voice UK, has reportedly been lined up to play the late soul singer in a forthcoming biopic.

    It seems she would be a popular choice to portray Aretha.

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  8. Tribute from Aretha's 'favourite bad boy' sportsman

    Isaiah Thomas

    Former Detroit Pistons NBA player Isaiah Thomas has been letting us into another side of the Queen of Soul.

    Aretha the sports fan.

    Thomas began by remembering how his mother would sit in the window and sing Aretha's Say a Little Prayer For You, after his dad lost his job.

    When he got his big break in basketball with a move to Detroit, he "got to know Aretha personally.

    "It was actually the first family I met when I got to Detroit.

    "I know a lot of people are smiling and thinking how I was when you first met me and how naive I was about this thing called celebrity.

    "I didn't know how to pay my bills... I knew nothing. And this family took care of me through some very tough times.

    Aretha Franklin
    Image caption: Aretha Franklin watches Detroit Pistons v Miami Heat in 2011
    Quote Message: I was honoured to get to know Aretha and she had a great love of sports. She loved the Detroit Pistons and I know I was her favourite bad boy

    He added: "But I gotta tell you there was nothing more inspiring for me than to look up and see my mum sitting in the stands sitting next to Aretha, sandwiched in between Stevie watching a Pistons game.

    "I'd always pause during the game and think to myself, 'I wonder how many nights they got my mum through and how many tears she shed listening to Aretha's music'.

    "She found a way to inspire us with hope and love and dreams through her music

    "I'm going to miss you Aretha... the world's going to miss you... but most importantly, Detroit is going to miss you."

  9. Aretha funeral: Video highlights so far

    Video content

    Video caption: Aretha Franklin: Family and friends remember the Queen of Soul

    Former President Bill Clinton and Motown legend Smokey Robinson were among the key speakers at Aretha Franklin's funeral earlier.

    The event is being held at Greater Grace Temple, the church where the Queen of Soul was a featured performer at US civil rights champion Rosa Parks' funeral.

    BBC News has picked out some memorable moments so far on video.

    Watch above.

  10. Clive Davis recalls signing 'perfectionist' Aretha

    Clive Davis

    Aretha's old manager - as much as that was possible - Clive Davis has described his former client as a "true genius of american music."

    The Sony Music chief creative officer told the crowd about the time he had dinner with the star - who "loved her soul food" - in 1979 "when she was already, of course, the Queen of Soul", with an arsenal of hits already.

    "We talked into the night about the next five years of recording, when Aretha would be over 40 years old," he said.

    "Much of music had changed, could she still compete?

    "Well there was no doubt in Aretha's mind and frankly there was no doubt in my mind."

    They went on to have many more hits in the second half of her career, including Sisters are Doing it for Themselves, alongside the Eurythmics.

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    "Aretha's voice will be influencing others literally for centuries to come," he added.

    "Behind her God-given talent was the drive of a perfectionist.

    "She defined loyalty."

  11. Cicely Tyson: Aretha 'moved every single person'

    Cicley Tyson

    Tony and Emmy award-winning actress Cicley Tyler said Aretha "was the sum total of her life's experience".

    She continued: "She shared that with us, through the soul songs she sang, she spoke to us through her soul and everything she experiences.

    "And that's why no matter what she was singing she moved every single person."

  12. Tyler Perry on how Aretha's songs helped his late mum to keep his dad in check

    Tyler Perry

    The US film actor, writer and director has just made one of the quickest speeches of the event.

    He recalled some valuable life lessons he learned from his Aretha-fan mother, who died in 2009.

    "We'd be driving up to the country and she'd have music blasting - and I could tell what my father had done by the music she was playing.

    "If she was playing Respect or Think I knew he had done something wrong; but if she was playing Dr Feelgood he might have done something right!"

    He finished by re-assuring everybody that "grief comes in waves and you can make your way through it."

    Tyler also attended the tribute show in Detroit on Thursday night.

  13. Hillary Clinton posts thanks for 'today's celebration'

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    The Democrat appears to have left the building.

    That's after she tweeted her appreciation for everyone who "made it a send-off worthy of her."

    Her husband Bill earlier declared the the pair of them have been Aretha 'groupies' since college.

  14. American Idol winner Fantasia performs Precious Lord / You've Got A Friend


    The singer, who won the third series of the reality talent show, removed her shoes ahead of her mash-up performance of gospel song Precious Lord and the James Taylor classic.

    Aretha herself sang the song on her 1972 album Amazing Grace.

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  15. Jesse Jackson makes a call for more people to vote in elections

    Jesse Jackson

    The Rev. Jesse Jackson took the pulpit to a standing ovation.

    The civil rights leader and close friend of Aretha urged the crowd to make their voices heard:

    "I was here for the Rosa Parks funeral and watched long lines for the museum for Rosa Parks. Long lines for Aretha.

    "Long lines today ... Long lines for the death of the icons and short lines for voting.

    "Something is missing."

    The 77-year-old, who was last year diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, urged the congregation not to fear diseases.

  16. Ron Isley performs gospel track

    Ron Isley

    Ron Isley of Isley Brothers fame is the latest singer to grab the mic.

    The 77-year-old - introduced as 'Mr Biggs' - sang an emotionally-charged rendition of the gospel song His Eye Is on the Sparrow.

    Mahalia Jackson's recording of the song was honoured with the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 2010.

    The funeral is now running roughly two and half hours over schedule.

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  17. Chaka Khan performs I'm Going Up Yonder

    Chaka Khan

    Dressed in a midnight blue dress and holding a matching fan, the soul and disco legend performed the song by the later Pastor and gospel singer Walter Hawkins.

    Many people have pointed out on social media that she appears to have the lyrics taped to the back of the fan (pictured above).

    She called Aretha “my Mentor, my True Friend,” in a Twitter tribute the day she died.

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  18. Aretha's fight for justice over Flint Water crisis

    Greg Mathis

    While many people will already now about Aretha's lifelong commitment to the US civil rights movement, another cause close to her heart has just been revealed.

    Retired Detroit judge Greg Mathis has been speaking about the late soul star's support in the fight for justice over the Flint water pipes scandal.

    In 2014, the drinking water source for the city of Flint, Michigan was changed from Lake Huron and the Detroit River to the cheaper Flint River, which resulted in 100,000 of residents drinking water contaminated with lead.

    Mathis - who noted that his comments might not please one of the service's earlier speakers, underfire Michigan Governor Rick Snyder - said that when he was feeling defeated about the ongoing struggle, Aretha told him: "You're supposed to be from Detroit - what are you scared of?"

    Bottled drinking water for residents of Flint
    Image caption: Bottled drinking water for residents of Flint

    Mathis's mic then briefly cut out, causing him to joke "somebody's going to jail!.."

    He went on to add: "Her last words were taken from the greatest song she's performed and somehow it made me feel like she respected me.

    "'You go back up there and sock it to them

    "So that's what I'm going to do - I'm going to sock it to them, sock it to them, sock it to them...

    "In honour of my sister Aretha."

    Read more about the Flint water crisis.

  19. Stevie Wonder recalls his last meeting with Aretha

    Video content

    Video caption: Aretha Franklin: Stevie Wonder on last meeting with soul singer

    Holding back tears, the soul legend has talked about flying to Detroit to see Aretha shortly before her death.

    "She wasn't able to speak back but her family felt that she could hear me so I said all things things that I've always said.

    Watch above

    Stevie is due to pay a musical tribute to Aretha later in the service.

  20. Bill Clinton: Me and Hillary were Aretha groupies

    Bill and Hillary Clinton

    A third former US President has paid his tribute now, describing Aretha as "the voice of a generaiton, maybe the voice of a century."

    Bill Clinton confessed that before he and wife Hillary made their moves into politics, as college sweethearts they were pretty much professional Aretha fans.

    "We started out not as the President and First Lady, a senator, a secretary of state.

    "We started out like Aretha groupies or something. You know, she was only about four years older than me, five years older than Hilary – so when we were getting out of college was when she finally got her big break."

    He added: "She had the voice of a generation, maybe the voice of a century.

    "She lived with courage. Not without fear but overcoming her fears.

    "She lived with faith. Not without failure but overcoming her failures...

    "I just love her."

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    He then recalled bumping into the singer at her final ever public performance at Elton John's Aids benefit gig last year, after her illness had really taken hold.

    "Look at me... I finally got thin again!" she told Clinton.

    "It took a lot of guts to say that" declared Bill.

    "And she sang not one song, not two songs, not three songs. She brought a chair out and she sang for 45 straight minutes..."

    He ended his lengthy speech by playing a snippet of her track Think (above), out of his mobile phone and straight into the microphone for the congregation to enjoy.

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