Gladys Knight, Cece Winans and More Pay Tribute to Aretha Franklin at 2018 American Music Awards

Honoring the Queen of Soul. The American Music Awards remembered the late Aretha Franklin with an emotional tribute on Tuesday, October 9.

Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin performs on December 9, 2015 Jon Pack/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

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Mary Mary, Gladys Knight, Ledisi, Cece Winans and Donnie McClurkin all took the stage live at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles in a Gospel-infused number produced by Rickey Minor.

Knight kicked off the show-stopping performance with a beautiful rendition of “Amazing Grace,” that brought the audience to tears. She was then joined by McClurkin who belted out an upbeat tune that had the crowd out of their seats. Winans took the stage with a soulful deliverance of  “Mary, Don’t You Weep,” followed by Ledisi with “How I Got Over, and Mary Mary closed out the tribute with a lively production.

Franklin died at her home in Detroit at the age of 76 on August 16 following a battle with cancer. The “Respect” artist’s longtime publicist, Gwendolyn Quinn, released a statement to Us Weekly following her death.

Gladys Knight
Gladys Knight performs onstage during the 2018 American Music Awards Kevin Winter/Getty Images For dcp

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“It is with deep and profound sadness that we announce the passing of Aretha Louise Franklin, the Queen of Soul,” the statement read. “Franklin, 76 years old, passed away on Thursday morning, August 16 at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit, MI, surrounded by family and loved ones. Franklin’s official cause of death was due to advance pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, which was confirmed by Franklin’s Oncologist, Dr. Philip Phillips of Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, MI.”

CeCe Winans
CeCe Winans performs onstage during the 2018 American Music Awards Kevin Winter/Getty Images For dcp

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Quinn’s statement continued: “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 love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds.”

Franklin’s family added to Us at the time, “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.”

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