Aretha Franklin's ex-husband has described her final days after visiting her on her deathbed with Stevie Wonder.
Glynn Turman, who was married to Franklin between 1978 and 1984, said she was 'strong until the very end.'
Whilst speaking to ITV's Good Morning Britain, he said 'We were just both on the plane to pay our respects, both trying to hold onto the hope that everything would be alright.' He said that when he arrived at Franklin's home on Tuesday, her carer shook her gently and said 'Aretha, Glenn is here.'
He said that 'She woke up, opened her eyes and made contact. It was a wonderful thing to see. I could tell by the look in her eye, she knew it was me. I was holding her hand at her bedside, holding her wrist. Her pulse was so strong and full of life. Her breathing was such a defiance of what was attacking her.'
Turman, an actor and producer that has recently appeared in The Wire and House of Lies, said that Franklin possessed a 'great sense of humour' and was 'always cracking jokes.'
He said 'She had a repertoire of jokes she would try out on anyone. There are some, but I can't tell you what they are. She could make a situation funny... it would crack you up. She was full of life, a very curious woman, she wanted to try things.'
He said that his favourite moment with her was when she sang for the Queen mother in the UK. He claimed that 'It meant a lot to her and all of us. I never forget the Queen Mother being as gracious as she was.'
When discussing Franklin's rise to fame, he said 'She did it with a tremendous will - you have to come up with a strong argument to change her mind.'
Franklin divorced her first husband Ted White in 1969, and went on to marry Turman in April 1978 at her father's church, becoming a stepmother to the 3 children he had from a previous marriage.
In 1982 they separated after Franklin moved back to Michigan from California, and they divorced in 1984.
Across the US. memorials honouring Franklin have begun to grow as her devastated fans, loved ones and fellow stars pay tribute to the Queen of Soul.
Franklin died on Thursday at 9.50am surrounded by her loved ones in her home in Detroit after fighting advanced pancreatic cancer.
A statement from her family read that 'In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family'.
The statement added that 'We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and fans all around the world. Thank you for your compassion and prayers. We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.'
Franklin announced her retirement from touring last year. She had battled with a number of undisclosed health issues in recent years. Her final public performance was last November, at Elton John's AIDS Foundation gala in New York.
Soon after news of her death was received, celebrities took to social media to mourn the loss of Franklin. Elton John, Barbra Streisand and The Clintons where among those who paid their tributes.
Barack and Michelle Obama, who saw Franklin as a close friend, released a joint statement, claiming they could 'feel our history' in her voice when she sang. They wrote 'America has no royalty. But we do have a chance to earn something more enduring. Born in Memphis and raised in Detroit, Aretha Franklin grew up performing gospel songs in her father's congregation. For more than six decades since, every time she sang, we were graced with a glimpse of the divine.'
They added that 'Through her compassion and unmatched musicianship, Aretha helped define the American experience. In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade - our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect. She helped us feel more connected to each other, more hopeful, more human. And sometimes she helped us just forget about everything else and dance. Aretha may have passed on to a better place, but the gift of her music remains to inspire us all. May the Queen of Soul rest in eternal peace. Michelle and I send our prayers and warmest sympathies to her family and those moved by her song.'
President Trump also made a tribute, saying 'he knew her well'. He said 'She worked for me on numerous occasions. She was terrific - Aretha Franklin - on her passing,' also claiming that she brought joy to millions. 'She was given a great gift from God - her voice, and she used it well. People loved Aretha. She was a special woman. So just want to pass on my warmest best wishes and sympathies to her family.'