Legendary singer and “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin is “gravely ill" and understood to be fighting for her life, according to veteran reporter Roger Friedman, who is also a friend of the family.
Writing in his Showbiz 411 column, Friedman said: “Aretha is surrounded by family and people close to her. She will be so missed as a mother, sister, friend, cousin. But her legacy is larger than life.”
NBC reporter Harry Hairston also tweeted that Franklin was “not doing well” according to a close friend.
The site claims that Franklin was diagnosed with cancer in 2010, though she went on to deny this in 2011. But illness has affected her performing career over the past decade, with Franklin cancelling concerts in 2010 while recovering from a surgery that removed an unspecified tumour and, she said, would "add 15 to 20 years to her life". Several shows were also cancelled in 2013, with Franklin saying in August of that year that she had undergone a "miraculous" recovery. She continued to drop out of shows, however, before retiring aged 74.
She is an industry icon, winning 18 Grammy awards over the course of her career and becoming the first woman to ever be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Last year, Franklin was forced to confirm to US Weekly that she was “doing well”, after a fake Twitter account sent out a hoax tweet claiming she had passed away. “I’m doing well generally, all test have come back good,” she explained. “I’ve lost a lot of weight due to side effects of medicine, it affects your weight… Thanxxxx for your concern.”
The musician is, of course, one of the most beloved and successful singers of all time, having sold some 75 million records around the globe during her highly decorated career. She is an industry icon, winning 18 Grammy awards over the course of her career and becoming the first woman to ever be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. She was bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005 and performed at Barack Obama's inauguration in 2009, her rendition of (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman bringing the president to tears. She is one of the world’s most recognisable voices and responsible for the soundtrack of generation after generation, with classic songs such as Think and Respect still dominating dancefloors.
Franklin last performed in November 2017, for the Elton John AIDs Foundation concert in New York, and gave her last public performance a year ago in Philadelphia. A review described her: "Regardless of advancing years and medical setbacks, Franklin seemed largely undiminished in voice or spirit.”