Aretha Franklin is reportedly “gravely ill” in Detroit, where friends and family have gathered around the Queen of Soul.
Showbiz 411 first reported on Franklin’s condition Sunday night, with Detroit news anchor Evrod Cassimy – who broke news of Franklin’s impending retirement in February – confirming that Franklin’s family informed him Monday morning 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,” Cassimy tweeted. “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.”
Radio host Tom Joyner similarly stated Franklin was in grave condition Monday on his radio show, adding that Franklin has been in hospice care for a week, the Detroit News reports. The Associated Press also confirmed with a person close to the singer that Franklin is “seriously ill.”
A rep for Franklin did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
In March, Franklin canceled her scheduled tour dates after her doctor recommended she “stay off the road and rest completely for at least the next two months.” Franklin’s medical condition was not announced at the time. The canceled performances included a gig at New Orleans’ Jazz Fest and a March 25th show in Newark, New Jersey that marked Franklin’s 76th birthday.
Franklin last performed in November 2017 at Elton John’s annual AIDS Foundation gala. Earlier this year, Franklin revealed that she would retire from touring in 2018, although she hoped to perform live occasionally at her planned Detroit namesake nightclub that she would own.
“I am retiring this year,” Franklin told Cassimy. “I will be recording, but this will be my last year in concert. This is it.” Franklin also announced plans to work on a new Stevie Wonder-assisted album.
In 2010, Franklin was rumored to be battling pancreatic cancer after the singer canceled a series of concerts to undergo a medical procedure. Franklin later denied the diagnosis, revealing that she instead had surgery to remove a tumor.
Franklin, who Rolling Stone named as the Greatest Singer of All Time, was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, receiving the honor in 1987.