Pastors say Aretha Franklin spent final days surrounded by loved ones

Franklin passes away at age 76

DETROIT - Aretha Franklin always kept her personal life private, and those closest to her said she spent her final days surrounded by loved ones.

She passed away Thursday at her home at Riverfront Towers in Downtown Detroit.

"We had a time of laughter," Bishop Charles Ellis III, of Greater Grace Temple, said. "We had a time of prayer. We had a time of reminiscing, and I would like to call it memorializing."

Ellis is the senior pastor at Greater Grace Temple. He visited Franklin's family Thursday after hearing of her passing.

"I think it's a good therapeutic time for the family," Ellis said.

Franklin was fighting advanced pancreatic cancer.

"I believe she was in pain when she didn't talk about being in pain," Ellis said. "She was in pain when she was singing, when she was giving it all that she had."

The Rev. Jesse Jackson visited Franklin this week when news broke of her illness. He returned Thursday to pay his last respects to his friend.

"She fought the good fight, and she kept the faith," Ellis said. "Earth has lost a lot of music today. Truly, the heavens rejoice."

Franklin's family is taking time to plan a celebration of life.

"They appreciate all the prayers, all the love, all the support, all the kindness," Ellis said.

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