Elton John saw Aretha Franklin's death coming. As RadarOnline.com has learned, John didn't even think The Queen of Soul would be able to survive her final show.
Readers know that before Franklin's cancer death this August, she delighted her fans with a lively performance at the annual AIDS Foundation gala. And the "Rocket Man" singer was stunned by the way she rocked the stage despite her declining health.
"I honestly didn't know how she could possibly perform in the physical condition I saw her in," John, 71, said at this year's gala, remembering the 76-year-old. "And she did perform. She raised the roof."
"I think it's because she was inspired by being in the cathedral. She went to church. She went back to where she came from and she raised the roof, and she sang, and she played, and she made us all weep. She gave us the performance of a lifetime," he continued, recalling Franklin's passionate show at New York's Cathedral of St. John the Divine.
John was so amazed by Franklin's voice that he admitted he couldn't imagine a better performer.
"You don't see greatness like that very often, and we will never see it again," he said at the gala.
On the evening of his speech, the foundation set up an auction to raise money — one which included a stunning $100,000 photo from Franklin's final performance.
In total, the gala raised $3.9 million, which will go to various organizations working to end HIV and AIDS, in particular in underrepresented communities.
John's tribute to Franklin, while touching, was not the first. Hours after her tragic death, the singer took to Twitter to voice his sadness.
"The loss of @ArethaFranklin is a blow for everybody who loves real music: Music from the heart, the soul and the Church. Her voice was unique, her piano playing underrated - she was one of my favorite pianists," he wrote at the time.
"I was fortunate enough to spend time with her and witness her last performance – a benefit for @ejaf at St John The Divine Cathedral. She was obviously unwell, and I wasn't sure she could perform. But Aretha did and she raised the roof. She sang and played magnificently, and we all wept. We were witnessing the greatest soul artist of all time. I adored her and worshipped her talent. God bless her. My condolences to all her family and friends. We shared the same birthday - and that meant so much to me. The whole world will miss her but will always rejoice in her remarkable legacy. The Queen is dead. Long live the Queen. #RIPArethaFranklin," he continued.
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