NEW YORK (AP) -- Aretha Franklin says she believed Whitney Houston had overcome her demons and was primed for a comeback, which made learning of the troubled singer's death all the more shocking.
Interviewed on NBC's "Today" show Friday, Franklin said she was watching TV in her hotel room in Charlotte, N.C., when she learned of Whitney's death in a hotel suite across the country in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Her reaction to the news: "What?! This could not be!"
Franklin said fans should remember Houston for her artistry, and not focus on the challenges she faced with substance abuse.
The Queen of Soul had long been a friend and mentor to Houston, who died last Saturday at the age of 48. Franklin will sing at Houston's funeral Saturday in Newark, N.J.