WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- The Queen of Soul is “seriously ill” and her death is “imminent,” PEOPLE confirmed on Monday.
- In December 2010, news from family members spread that Aretha Franklin was suffering from pancreatic cancer.
- TMZ reported that the legendary singer “could go anytime,” according to a source and that her weight was down to 85 pounds.
Aretha Franklin has been rumored to be suffering from pancreatic cancer since 2010 but the Grammy Hall of Fame awardee has chosen not to address it.
When the soul singer sat down for an interview with PEOPLE in April 2011, she did not directly address the rumors.
“I feel fabulous, really,” Franklin said. “And I’m so thankful to all of the people who said a little prayer for me. People at the check-out line in the market were telling me that they prayed for me. It’s amazing how beautiful people can be.”
On Monday, a source close to the 76-year-old singer told the Associated Press that Franklin is “seriously ill,” but no more details were provided.
“She has been ill for a long time,” her longtime friend confirmed to PEOPLE. “She did not want people to know and she didn’t make it public.”
Evrod Cassimy, a Detroit news anchor and Franklin’s friend, also confirmed the sad news on Twitter.
“I am so saddened to report that the Queen of Soul and my good friend, Aretha Franklin is gravely ill,” wrote Cassimy. “I spoke with her family members this evening. She is asking for your prayers at this time.”
He promised to provide more details once he is allowed to release them. Cassimy tweeted Monday that Franklin is alert and speaking.
“Just got a chance to speak to Aretha Franklin,” he wrote. “She is resting and surrounded by close friends and family.”
According to TMZ, a source close to the singer said that two weeks ago, people in Franklin’s circle were told that “she could go any time.” The source added that her weight was down to just 85 pounds.
Franklin’s scheduled concerts in March and April of this year were canceled under doctor’s orders. The singer’s management issued a statement at the time.
“Aretha Franklin has been ordered by her doctor to stay off the road and rest completely for at least the next two months,” the statement read.
In February 2017, Franklin announced her retirement from the music industry.
“I will be recording, but this will be my last year in concert. This is it,” she told a Detroit TV station.
Franklin sang last August at the Mann Center in Philadelphia, “despite noticeable changes in her appearance that caused concern about her well-being.” She also performed at the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s Enduring Vision benefit gala in November 2017.
Her next album, entitled A Brand New Me, is expected to be released in November.