America’s ‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin gravely ill, say friends

Multi-award-winning artist is said to be in hospital and surrounded by relatives

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 August, 2018, 6:11pm
UPDATED : Monday, 13 August, 2018, 6:11pm

Singer Aretha Franklin, a multiple Grammy award-winner star whose legacy stretches back decades, is gravely ill and surrounded by relatives, a reporter and family friend wrote on his website on Monday.

The 76-year-old “Queen of Soul” Franklin, known for hits such as Respect (1967) and I Say a Little Prayer (1968), “is gravely ill in Detroit. The family is asking for prayers and privacy,” wrote Roger Friedman on the Showbiz 411 website.

Franklin, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2010, last performed in November 2017 for the Elton John Aids Foundation in New York. Her final public performance was in Philadelphia in August 2017.

“It was a miraculous show as Aretha was already then fighting exhaustion and dehydration,” Friedman wrote, describing the Philadelphia performance.

Throughout her lengthy career Franklin accumulated 18 Grammy awards, including one for Lifetime Achievement.

Franklin’s hits include (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman (1968), Day Dreaming (1972), Jump to It (1982), Freeway of Love (1985) and A Rose is Still a Rose (1998).

In 1987 she became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

I Knew You Were Waiting for Me, a duet she sang with the late British singer George Michael, was one of her Grammy-winning hits.

In 2005 Franklin was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the highest award for an American civilian – by president at the time George W. Bush.

In January 2009, Franklin sang at Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration.