DETROIT -- Bill Clinton memorialized Aretha Franklin as a woman with "breathtaking talent" who kept on charming audiences despite her illness.
Clinton described himself as an "Aretha groupie" and said he was thrilled to meet the Queen of Soul during her final public performance in 2017. Though she looked "gaunt," Clinton said, Franklin performed for 45 minutes.
"How you doing, baby?" she asked him.
"I'm doing better now," Clinton replied.
Clinton quipped that he was happy that Franklin's casket was still open when he arrived because he just had to see what she was wearing.
"I wonder what my friend has got on today. I wanted to see what the girl was carrying out," Clinton said to a wave of laughs and claps from the crowd. Franklin was clad in a gold gown, her fourth outfit of the week.
He ended his time at the pulpit by playing Franklin's rendition of "Think" on his iPhone and calling it the "key to freedom."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Bill Clinton at Aretha Franklin's funeral: Former president plays 'Think' from his iPhone
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