Stevie Wonder fought back tears while reliving his final words to friend and collaborator Aretha Franklin.
The singer had the chance to visit The Queen of Soul at her Detroit home a mere two days before her death Thursday at the age of 76.
Wonder recalled the emotional moment during an interview Friday with CBS This Morning, revealing it was clear the star didn’t have long to live.
“She wasn’t able to speak back, but her family felt that she could hear me, and so I just said all the things that I’ve always said and told her to say hello to my sister,” Wonder shared, referring to the death of his sibling in May.
The loss is all the more heartbreaking for Wonder because he and Franklin were preparing to record a track as recently as two months ago.
“We’d been talking about it,” Wonder said. “There was a song that I had written called ‘The Future,’ and we were going to sing it together.”
The 68-year-old became emotional as he discussed the duet and admitted, “I thought I cried my last tear.”
“She did incredible music, incredible singer,” he continued. “She touched every genre. Every singer was influenced in some way by the way she sang, and they will forever be influenced by her because of her voice, her emotion; her sincerity is unforgettable…”
Wonder, who is also a Detroit native, also shared his admiration for her late father, Reverend C.L. Franklin, noting how much the two inspired his music.
“I remember hearing her singing at the Reverend Franklin’s church when I was little — maybe I was 4 or 5 years old — because my mother would always listen to the church services on Sunday. And so the voices I remember most in my life would be Dr. King, her voice, and her father, Reverend Franklin.”
Noting the strength she showed in the face of turmoil, he added, “She was just consistently a great human being, and she always — even with whatever turmoil may have been happening in her life, even through her illness — she did not put that on anybody else.”