Aretha Franklin said to be 'seriously ill'

By: MailOnline
Aretha Franklin
Music legend Aretha Franklin battling cancer

Aretha Franklin is 'gravely ill' and currently surrounded by family and friends who are preparing to say their final goodbye, it has been reported.

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The Queen of Soul, 76, is reportedly down to 86 pounds and has been battling cancer.

A longtime friend of the songstress said he was told a week ago to prepare himself because she was dying.

He also revealed that Aretha Franklin's family and friends were informed two weeks ago that she 'could go at any time'.

Aretha Franklin during her last performance in Nov 2017 for Elton John Aids Foundation Fall Gala

Another source revealed to TMZ that Aretha Franklin has been battling cancer, although they did not disclose what kind.

Cendia Franklin, Aretha's sister-in-law, also said that the soul icon is fighting for her life and that the outlook is 'not looking good'.

'She's very ill,' Cendia told Radar on Monday. 'She has been under the weather for months. A lot of her family is around her, supporting her.'

Cendia said the family does not know if Aretha will be able to recover.

'We just never know,' she added.

The Queen of Soul was performing as recently as last year but canceled a series of concerts last summer, citing 'doctor's orders'.

Her last performance was on November 2, 2017 for the Elton John AIDS Foundation in New York, where she closed the even with I Say a Little Prayer and Freeway.

Aretha Franklin had revealed earlier in 2017 that it would be her final year performing after releasing her 42nd studio album A Brand New Me.

'I will be recording, but this will be my last year in concert,' she announced during a Detroit radio interview that February. 'This is it.'

'I feel very, very enriched and satisfied with respect to where my career came from, and where it is now,' she 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.'

The Respect icon has struggled with weight issues throughout her life, and has battled alcoholism. She was also previously a chain smoker.

While still amazingly performing into her seventies, the superstar has on occasion canceled performances for undisclosed medical treatments.

Aretha Franklin denied reports that she was battling pancreatic cancer in 2011.

However all three of Aretha's siblings fell to cancer.

Her brother Cecil, who was also her manager, died from lung cancer in December 1989.

Her sister Carolyn died the previous year in April 1988 from breast cancer, while eldest sister Erma passed from throat cancer in September 2002.

Aretha Franklin in 1967

To say Aretha's career is legendary would be an understatement. Her career has helped shape American history.

She performed Precious Lord at Martin Luther King Jr.'s funeral in 1968.

Aretha was the daughter of famed civil rights activist CL Franklin, who organised one of the largest marches for racial equality in the nation.

The march, which was held in Detroit, was the very first place King delivered his iconic 'I Have A Dream' speech.

'We look at, and we reflect on his accomplishment, and his achievement in organising the community in this way,' Aretha said of her father in 1963.

'And I'm very, very happy and pleased and as proud as punch of my dad, having been the single person that organized it all.'

When she attended the White House Correspondent's Dinner in DC, April, 2016

Aretha Franklin was the fist ever woman inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. She also topped Rolling Stone's Greatest Artists Of All Time list.

She has won 20 Grammys in throughout her career, the third-most Grammy Awards for any female artist in history.

Aretha Franklin was also awarded three special awards from the Grammys, including the Legend Award (1991), the Lifetime Achievement Award (1994), and the MusiCares Person of the Year (2008).

A number of celebrities took to Twitter on Monday to offer their prayers and well wishes to Aretha.

Mariah Carey, who considers Franklin one of her biggest influences, wrote that she was 'praying for the Queen of Soul'.

Missy Elliot also tweeted her prayers to Aretha and called on music fans to remember their icons while they're still alive.

'We must celebrate the Living Legends while they are here to see it,' she wrote. 'So many have given us decades of timeless music.'