Aretha Franklin has penned an open letter to fans of her goddaughter Whitney Houston, urging them to "remember the hits" and "forget the misses".
The I Will Always Love You superstar died in Los Angeles last Saturday (11Feb12) and Franklin was among the celebrities expressing her shock at the "stunning and unbelievable" news within hours of Houston's passing.
Now the Queen of Soul has recalled her fondest memories of the singer in a touching tribute for People magazine.
In the piece, Franklin remembers meeting a young Houston for the first time when her mother Cissy brought her along to one of the Respect hitmaker's recording sessions.
She writes, "I thought, 'What a cute, darling little red-headed girl!' From then on, I watched her growth and development as an artist. It became apparent that she was the signaling of a younger generation coming in and a role model for many young vocal aspirants - a rose who came into full bloom.
"It wasn't just the hits: Whitney knew how to be a star, and she was one of the brightest stars in the universe."
But Franklin believes Houston's phenomenal success was "perhaps too much, too soon" - and her struggle to deal with her fame resulted in a much-publicised battle with drugs, which wreaked havoc on her vocal cords and her reputation in the spotlight.
However, Franklin is encouraging real fans to look past Houston's troubles and remember her for the "talented artist" she was.
She continues, "Let us all applaud and remember Whitney for the beautiful, giving and caring young lady and talented artist she was, the great music and performances. Remember the hits. Forget the misses. A true superstar has gone on, flown away on the wings of love."
Signing off the letter as "Aunt Ree", Franklin adds, "Keep her family in your prayers."
The veteran singer is reportedly set to perform at Houston's funeral in Newark, New Jersey on Saturday (18Feb12) as mourners pay their last respects.