Following a report that Aretha Franklin was “gravely ill,” People magazine has now confirmed that the Queen of Soul may not be with us for very much longer.
A longtime friend tells People that the 76-year-old music legend is very sick, and her death is “imminent,” adding, “She has been ill for a long time. She did not want people to know and she didn’t make it public.”
On Monday, Evrod Cassimy, a TV news anchor in Franklin’s hometown of Detroit, tweeted, “I am so saddened to report that the Queen of Soul and my good friend, Aretha Franklin is gravely ill. I spoke with her family members this morning. She is asking for your prayers at this time.”
Later that same day, he tweeted, “Just got a chance to speak to Aretha Franklin. She is resting and surrounded by close friends and family.”
Franklin’s health problems have been going on for nearly a decade. In 2010, she had surgery for a tumor, but the following year, she denied it was related to pancreatic cancer, as had been rumored.
In May of 2013, she canceled two shows to undergo undisclosed medical treatment, and then continued to cancel shows in June, July, August and September of that year. Later that year, she claimed she’d had a “miraculous recovery,” but didn’t reveal what her illness was.
In 2017, Franklin canceled more shows due to health reasons, and told an audience, “Keep me in your prayers.” She also canceled shows this year under doctor’s orders. Her most recent performance was in November of 2017, when she sang at the Elton John AIDS Foundation gala in New York City. She appeared to have lost an alarming amount of weight.