The legendary singer flew to Detroit to say goodbye to his longtime friend, The Queen of Soul, shortly before she died.

Stevie Wonder’s final words to Aretha Franklin included a request for her to “say hello” to his sister in heaven. The “Isn’t She Lovely” singer paid a final visit to the Queen of Soul just two days before she passed away at her Detroit home on Thursday.

In an interview with CBS This Morning, an emotional Stevie Wonder, 68, revealed that when he saw his longtime friend Aretha for the final time before she died, she was unable to speak but he believes she could hear his last words to her.

“I’ve got to get it together because I wanted — I did want to see her — so I decided on Monday I would go. I flew out from L.A. to Detroit and went to see her and spoke to her… 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.”

Stevie Wonder’s sister, Renee Hardaway, died in May.

Wonder, who described Franklin as an “incredible singer” who “touched every genre,” also revealed that the two had recently talked about recording new music together.

“We talked about doing some music, as recent as two months ago, we talked about it. There was a song that I had written called ‘The Future,’ and we were going to sing it together. I thought I cried my last tear.”

Aretha Franklin famously covered Stevie Wonder’s song “Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)” back in 1973. Wonder now says it was one of her greatest gifts to him.

“The greatest gift for me was when I heard her sing ‘Until You Come Back to Me.,’” Wonder said. “Someone said on one of the channels yesterday that when she sings your song. She takes it and you don’t get it back. And that’s what she did.”

Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin later performed a duet of “Until You Come Back to Me” together at the Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards in 2005. But well before they would both become music legends, Wonder recalled hearing Franklin sing at her father’s church services when she was a young girl.

“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,” Wonder said. “And so the voices I remember most in my life would be Dr. King, her voice, and her father, Reverend Franklin.”

Stevie Wonder remembered the late Queen of Soul as a wonderful person who brought joy to everyone around her. The singer added that even through her personal turmoil and illness, Aretha never put the burden on anyone else.

“She believed most of all that she was doing God’s work,” Wonder said. “She brought joy to a lot of lives and her voice and the essence of her will stay with all of us.”

You can see Stevie Wonder talking about his last words to Aretha Franklin in the video below.
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