Freeman passed on March 2, after suffering from complications from lupus and a bronchial infection. Cyrus, who was her mentor during the show’s 13th season, spoke at the service before her father and country singer, Billy Ray Cyrus, joined her on stage to sing “Amazing Grace.”
“Before we sing this song for Janice, I just want to clear up a rumor,” she began. “I was never her coach, ever, she was always mine. I learned more from her than anyone that I’ve ever gotten the honor to be in the room with, not just vocally, I should’ve gotten more lessons than I did, but she taught me everything that I know about love.”
An emotional Cyrus revealed her dad would be performing the song alone, instead. “I had planned on singing a song for her, but just losing her is just too much for me,” she said. “So my dad’s going to take care of this for me. But, I’ll always be your sister, and I’m here for you, and I’m here for your family, and Janice I’ll miss you more than I could ever say. So, my dad is going to do this for me.”
However, before the song finished, the Disney alum composed herself and helped her dad perform. “Thank you for letting us be a part of your family and thank you, Janice, for letting me be your friend — it’s been an honor,” she said before leaving the stage. The “Achy Breaky Heart” singer expressed the influence she had on him, as well. “Thank you, sister Janice — I learned from you, too.”
After Freeman’s passing, Cyrus took to Instagram to honor her in several posts. “I will never forget you or stop loving you. I am forever yours, Miley,” she wrote in one of them.
Our thoughts are with Freeman’s loved ones.