Aretha Franklin is gravely ill, according to several reports. The “Queen of Soul” last year announced she planned to retire from touring, and in March she had to cancel shows on doctor’s orders.
The Associated Press, citing a person close to the singer who was “not allowed to talk publicly about the topic,” reported Monday that the 76-year-old singer was “seriously ill.”
Longtime entertainment reporter Roger Friedman wrote on Showbiz 411 that she “is gravely ill in Detroit. The family is asking for prayers and privacy.” The morning anchor of Detroit station WDIV, Evrod Cassimy, tweeted that he had spoken with her family members on Monday morning and she is “gravely ill.”
“She is asking for your prayers at this time,” he added. “I’ll have more details as I’m allowed to release.”
Ms. Franklin, who spent much of childhood in the Detroit area and now lives there, reportedly watches the news station every morning when she’s at home.
NBC Philadelphia investigative reporter Harry Hairston, who has known Franklin since 1988, tweeted late Sunday that he “spoke with a close friend of Aretha Franklin and family. Iconic singer not doing well.”
A representative for the singer did not immediately return The Washington Post’s inquiry.
The reports on Monday sparked an outpouring of love on social media for the groundbreaking singer, who has won 18 Grammys and was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. In 2005, Ms. Franklin received a Presidential Medal of Freedom.
In 2017, Franklin told WDIV that she planned to perform only a handful of shows after her next album. “I will be recording, but this will be my last year in concert,” Franklin said. “This is it.”
“I feel very, very enriched and satisfied with respect to where my career came from, and where it is now,” Franklin added. “I’ll be pretty much satisfied, but I’m not going to go anywhere and just sit down and do nothing. That wouldn’t be good either.”
Ms. Franklin’s most recent album, “A Brand New Me,” was released in November 2017, the same month she performed at the Elton John AIDS Foundation gala. In March, Franklin canceled a pair of upcoming shows after she was “ordered by her doctor to stay off the road and rest completely for at least the next two months,” her management team said at the time.
Ms. Franklin is known for hit songs that include “Respect,” “Think,” and “You Make Me Feel (Like a Natural Woman).”
Ms. Franklin, who has won a total of 18 Grammy Awards, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
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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
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
Praying for the Queen of Soul ?? #ArethaFranklin pic.twitter.com/5cfNPrQrq3
— Mariah Carey (@MariahCarey) August 13, 2018
Praying for Aretha Franklin and her family right now! ❤️??
— Ciara (@ciara) August 13, 2018