Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, is gravely ill. Franklin, 76, is currently with family in Detroit where she resides. The cause of her illness is unknown, but a family friend and Michigan news anchor shared details about the singer’s condition on Monday.
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
“I am so saddened to report that the Queen of Soul and my good friend, Aretha Franklin is gravely ill,” Evrod Cassimy wrote. “I spoke with her family members this morning. She is asking for your prayers at this time.”
Although concrete details are far and few between, a source close to Franklin told TMZ, “Prepare yourself, she’s dying.” They added that she was down to 86 pounds. Another “source” told the gossip site that she is fighting a battle against cancer.
Aretha Franklin was born in Memphis, Tennissee in 1942. Her father, C.L. Vaughn, was a famous pastor and civil rights activist. Her mother, Barbara, was a gospel singer. When Franklin turned 2, her family left Memphis and headed for Detroit to start a church.
Franklin was a high school dropout, but went on to study classical piano at Julliard School of Music in 1998. She also holds two honorary degrees from Yale University and Berklee College of Music.
Since then, Franklin has gone on to become one of the most iconic female artists in history. She holds the record as the third-most Grammy winning female artist in history. Some of Franklin’s most famous songs include “Respect”, “(You Make Me Feel Like a Natural) Woman”, and “I Say a Little Prayer”.
She’s received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the NAACP Hall of Fame, and the Apollo Theater Legends Hall of Fame.
Franklin is truly an icon in every sense of the word. The news of her poor health condition has attracted attention from all corners of the Internet. Now, fans and artists alike are paying tribute to Franklin.
Missy Elliott raised a point about celebrating living legends like Franklin while they’re still with us.
My prayers are with Aretha Franklin & her family during this difficult time ?? LOOK BELOW @ what I tweeted at the top of the year we MUST CELEBRATE the Living Legends while they are here to see it. So many have given us decades of Timeless music…❤️ https://t.co/VVacLxcMSI
— Missy Elliott (@MissyElliott) August 13, 2018
Writer Yashar Ali’s tweet about Franklin’s impromptu performance lit up the conversation around the artist.
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
And perhaps the most accessible, meme-friendly tweet about Franklin features photos of the singer wielding a VHS camcorder.
Aretha Franklin feat. a camcorder. pic.twitter.com/mgBgmcmFKn
— ✨ ?????? ??????? ✨ (@kingrocketz) August 13, 2018
Another tweet that’s making the rounds is a handwritten letter from the Queen of Soul addressed to Emory Douglas, the minister of culture of the Black Panther Party. Despite the often cutthroat nature of showbiz, her letter reveals a heartwarming sincerity and earnestness.
just found this mind blowingly humble letter from Aretha Franklin to Emory Douglas, Minster of Culture for Culture of the Black Panther Party while doing some archival digging: “Once in a while one feels so inadequate in this business” pic.twitter.com/tGh7FXTMxT
— your friend jeff (@muttgomery) August 13, 2018
A true queen, indeed.
We will continue updating as more details become available.