Queen Of Soul Aretha Franklin is “gravely ill,” according to numerous reports. The news was first reported last night by Showbiz 411, and confirmed this morning by Detroit morning news anchor Evrod Cassimy, who tweeted:
Radio host Tom Joyner said this morning that the 76-year-old soul legend has been in hospice care since Monday, and the Associated Press separately confirms with a source close to the singer that she is “seriously ill.”
Many reports, including TMZ and Variety, cite pancreatic cancer as the cause. In 2010, a sudden surgery was rumored to be addressing the disease, but Franklin later denied these claims. She retired from touring in February of last year, but said she would continue to perform live. Earlier this year, she canceled a handful of scheduled performances on doctor’s orders, including a gig at Jazz Fest in New Orleans and a 76th-birthday party in Newark, New Jersey.
The legendary powerhouse singer first burst into the public consciousness over 50 years ago, with a 1967 cover of Otis Redding’s “Respect.” Since then, she has racked up some 18 Grammys, and was the first woman to be inducted to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1987. Her most recent album of original recordings was 2014’s Aretha Franklin Sings The Great Diva Classics, her 41st studio album.