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Gladys Knight Reacts to Aretha Franklin’s Death: ‘I Didn’t Want Her to Suffer’ (Exclusive)

Gladys Knight and Aretha Franklin
Gladys Knight and Aretha FranklinGetty Images

A Knight is honoring the queen. Gladys Knight misses Aretha Franklin, who died on August 16 at the age of 76, but she didn’t want the Queen of Soul to suffer.

Related: Celebrity Deaths in 2018

“We all have our days,” Knight, 74, told Us Weekly exclusively at the USTA Foundation Opening Night Gala on Monday, August 27, in New York City. “I mean, we have absolutely no control over that. The Lord tells us where we are going and tells us when we are coming. So I’m not overly upset about it, and he knows how much each one of us can bear, and he calls us home with those things in mind. That’s the way I feel about it, because he loves us like that.”

Franklin, an 18-time Grammy winner, died of advanced pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, her longtime publicist said in a statement. She died surrounded by family and loved ones at home in Detroit, Michigan.

Related: Aretha Franklin’s Life in Pictures

“I miss her, but I didn’t want her to suffer,” Knight told Us. “I really didn’t. And, you know, people could see it. She just kept driving and driving, and she knew it was a disease that would take her out, and she just kept on doing what she does best. So Aretha, safe journey.”

Franklin was honored with an open-casket visitation at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History on Tuesday, August 28, with hundreds of fans lining up to pay their respects to the singer.

aretha franklin
Aretha Franklin performs onstage at the Elton John AIDS Foundation Commemorates Its 25th Year And Honors Founder Sir Elton John During New York Fall Gala at Cathedral of St. John the Divine on November 7, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images) Getty Images

Related: Aretha Franklin Tributes Pop Up in Detroit, New York City and L.A.

“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,” her family said in a statement on the day of her death. “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.”

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