MANHATTAN — Legendary soul singer Aretha Franklin paid tribute to Whitney Houston during a performance at Radio City Music Hall Saturday night — just hours after missing the funeral for the "I Will Always Love You" singer.
Franklin, a close friend of Houston's family, had cancelled an appearance at her New Jersey funeral service because of spasms in her legs, but was spritely during the performance in New York that night, according to the Associated Press.
During the 100-minute show, Franklin, 69, paid tribute to those who had helped her along her 50-year career, including Luther Vandross.
In the second half of the concert, part of her "greatest hits" tour, Franklin softly sang Houston's signature track, "I Will Always Love You" in Gospel style, acknowledging the "homegoing" of "Nippy," Houston's nickname, the AP said.
"She was a very fine young lady" and "one of the best, greatest singers," said Franklin. "She was giving, gave so much of herself."
"God bless you, Nippy," she concluded. "We'll always remember."
Houston was remembered by thousands of mourners during a star-studded three-hour ceremony at her hometown church, New Hope Baptist, a week after she was found dead in her Los Angeles hotel room.
During her career, Houston, who sang many early shows at Manhattan venues, earned several Grammys and sold 55 million records.