World famous soul singer Aretha Franklin is reported to be close to death. The 76-year-old has been battling cancer for a number of years, but has been extremely private about her personal health problems.
“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. I’ll have more details as I’m allowed to release,” WDIV‘s anchor and long-time family friend, Evrod Cassimy, tweeted Monday morning.
BREAKING NEWS: 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. I’ll have more details as I’m allowed to release.
— Evrod Cassimy (@EvrodCassimy) August 13, 2018
Later, Cassimy detailed that Franklin is currently awake and speaking. “Just got a chance to speak to Aretha Franklin. She is resting and surrounded by close friends and family,” he noted.
Franklin, known for her hits “Respect” and “Natural Woman,” is currently being cared for at a hospice, according to CNN. Her last known performance was at a private gala for the Elton John AIDS Foundation last November. Over a career that has spanned several decades, Franklin has won 18 Grammy’s and been nominated for 44.
She has also performed at the inauguration of several Presidents, including Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama and George W. Bush. She also belted out a rendition of “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” at the memorial service of Dr. Martin Luther King.
“She has a great family, she’s surrounded by love, and the world is sending prayers. All further announcements will be made by her family. We just want to send love and prayers,” Showbiz 411’s Roger Friedman told CNN.
She released her most recent album, A Brand New Me, in November 2017, saying of her future work: “I will be recording, but this will be my last year in concert. This is it.”
This is one of my favorite Aretha Franklin stories…two hours before the Grammys telecast in 1998, Luciano Pavarotti cancelled due to illness. Aretha Franklin sang Nessun Dorma that night with little notice. pic.twitter.com/OroqA5CZ37
— Yashar Ali ? (@yashar) August 13, 2018
Franklin was due to play in March and April of this year, but had to cancel on doctors orders. “Aretha Franklin has been ordered by her doctor to stay off the road and rest completely for at least the next two months,” Franklin’s management said in a statement at the time, as reported by Pop Culture.
Many have taken to Twitter to offer their words of support as Aretha faces her final hours.
— Mariah Carey (@MariahCarey) August 13, 2018
— Reneé Larson (@iamreneejai) August 14, 2018
Aretha has spoken at length about her deeply held Christian faith.