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It had been transported to the church by the same pearly white 1940 Cadillac LaSalle hearse that took the civil rights icon Rosa Parks to her final rest in 2005, as well as Franklin's own father in 1984.

She is being buried in a 24-karat gold plated Promethean casket made of solid bronze, and the interior is finished with champagne velvet.

Massive crowds lined up outside the church, hoping for the chance to pay their respects and take their seats among the star-studded funeral-goers that included Franklin's fellow musicians, famous actors, religious leaders and a former US President. The Pink Cadillacs outside refer to a Franklin hit from the 1980s, "Freeway of Love".

Afterward, performances from celebrated singers such as Stevie Wonder and Chaka Khan were scheduled along with speeches and readings from others.

In addition, the service will feature several prominent speakers, including former president Bill Clinton, former US attorney general Eric Holder, pastor of The Potter's House Bishop T.D. Jakes and president of the Rainbow P.U.S.H. Hillary Clinton was also in attendance in Detroit, the city where Franklin began her career singing gospel in the New Bethel Baptist church choir.

The presence of Hollywood stars such as Tyler Perry and Cicely Tyson, who will also speak, are a nod to Franklin's contributions on screen and off in films such as "The Blues Brothers".

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Franklin had continued to tour and record intermittently through her final year.

"My husband said, 'Wouldn't it be awesome if we could have a sea of pink Cadillacs parked on Seven Mile Road to greet Ms. Aretha Franklin as she arrives?'" Ellis told NPR. "Aretha Franklin did so much for music".

Although Franklin sang at former President Barack Obama's 2009 inauguration, he and former first lady Michelle Obama won't be in Detroit for the funeral.

Bishop Charles H. Ellis of Greater Grace Temple in Detroit began speaking almost two hours after the ceremony had been slated to begin. Thursday night, a concert in her honor was held in downtown Detroit.

"It is my goal and my aim to ensure that people leave here with some kind of spiritual awakening", Ellis said.