NEW YORK (AP) — Aretha Franklin is seriously ill, according to a person close to the singer.
The person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to publicly talk about the topic, told The Associated Press on Monday that Franklin is seriously ill. No more details were provided.
The Queen of Soul canceled planned concerts earlier this year after she was ordered by her doctor to stay off the road and rest up. She was originally scheduled to perform on her 76th birthday in March in Newark, New Jersey, and at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in April.
Last year, the icon announced her plans to retire, saying she would perform at “some select things.” One of those select events was a gala for Elton John’s 25th anniversary of his AIDS foundation in November in New York City, where Franklin closed the event with a collection of songs including “I Say a Little Prayer” and “Freeway.”
Showbiz 411 reporter Roger Friedman was first to report the singer is “gravely ill,” sharing that Franklin’s family are “asking for prayers and privacy.”
The Queen of Soul’s family also told Local 4 in Detroit that Franklin is “gravely ill.”
“I am so saddened to report that the Queen of Soul and my good friend, Aretha Franklin is gravely ill,” wrote Detroit news anchor Evrod Cassimy. “I spoke with her family members this evening. She is asking for your prayers at this time. I’ll have more details as I’m allowed to release.”
He revealed Monday that Franklin is alert and speaking, tweeting, “Just got a chance to speak to Aretha Franklin. She is resting and surrounded by close friends and family.”