"One glad morning, when this life is over, I'll fly away..."
By 1969, with Kennedy, King, and many of her other beneficiaries deceased, Jackson had retired from the political front. She had battled illness for years. Still touring almost to the end, she visited Africa, the Caribbean, Japan, and India, where she met Indira Ghandi, an instant fan. Jackson's final performance was in Germany in 1971. Soon after an operation on her pained abdomen, she died of heart failure in January 1972, at the age of 60.
Hundreds of musicians and politicians attended Jackson's two funerals. In Chicago, Aretha Franklin performed "Take My Hand, Precious Lord," and Coretta King praised Jackson for being "black and proud and beautiful." Mourning continued at a second funeral in New Orleans, where thousands of hometown admirers gathered to honor the greatest gospel singer of all time, a woman who had conquered poverty, racism, and hardship to win fans and friends all over the world.