With the pessimistic news tonight via Aretha Franklin’s family – word is, the Queen Of Soul is gravely ill and may not make it over the next 24 hours. News has traveled all over the world within a matter of minutes; causing friends, fans and colleagues to pause and shake our collective heads and to offer some hope that there will be a turn for the better in the coming hours.
Many news outlets, including those online, have been posting progress reports – at present though, no one is saying anything more than “Family reports Aretha Franklin is gravely ill”, and leaves it at that.
According to Showbiz411 and Pop Culture.com:
Aretha Franklin is reportedly “gravely ill” and her family is asking for prayers, according to ShowBiz411. The singer is 76 years old.
The site reports that the Queen of Soul is surrounded by her family and friends in Detroit.
The news comes eight years after the “Respect” singer was first diagnosed with cancer. She made her final performance for an Elton John AIDS Foundation benefit in New York on Nov. 2, 2017. He most recent public performance came in August 2017 at the Mann Center in Philadelphia.
Franklin was scheduled to make two more performances earlier this year, but they were canceled due to health concerns. One show in Newark, New Jersey was scheduled for her birthday. The other was a performance at the legendary New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in April. She also had concerts in Boston and Toronto planned for June.
“Aretha Franklin has been ordered by her doctor to stay off the road and rest completely for at least the next two months,” her management said in a statement to Entertainment Weekly in March. “She is extremely disappointed she cannot perform at this year’s New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival as she had expected and hoped to.”
Franklin previously told ClickOnDetroit in February 2017 that she planned to retire from performing, aside from occasional major events. She also planned to record one more album.
Franklin has been dogged by rumors of health problems for years. In November 2017, a Twitter death hoax went viral before her management confirmed she had not died.
The “(You Make Me Feel) Like A Natural Woman” singer recorded her most recent album in 2014. In 2016, she released A Brand New Me, a collection of vocal recordings with new arrangements from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
A film about Franklin is also in the works, with Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson getting an endorsement to star. The project will be produced by Straight Outta Compton’s Scott Bernstein and Dreamgirls producer Harvey Mason Jr. The long-gestating project will reportedly be based on Franklin’s 1999 memoir Aretha: From These Roots.
Franklin’s legendary music career began in 1956 and reached unprecedented heights in the late 1960s and 1970s thanks to hit singles like “Respect,” “(You Make Me Feel) Like a Natural Woman,” “Think” and “Spanish Harlem.” She has won 18 Grammy Awards and is a member of the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame and the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Franklin was married and divorced twice, and has four children.
That’s about the most complete news that’s available up to now (Sunday Night – 10:56 pm PDT) – there will, no doubt be more updates as they become available.
But in the meantime, I thought I would run a concert she performed Festival de Jazz d’Antibes, France in 1970 and rebroadcast just last year via Radio France Musique to keep her in your thoughts and prayers.