Aretha Franklin Once Denied Pancreatic Cancer Diagnosis in 2011 Interview

Aretha Franklin died of pancreatic cancer on Thursday, but prior to her death, the Queen of Soul had denied her cancer diagnosis.

Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin died peacefully in her Detroit home Thursday, Aug. 16, at the age of 76 following reports throughout the week that the famed singer was "gravely ill." Although it had been reported that she was originally diagnosed with the disease in 2011, Franklin had skirted around the diagnosis that same year while talking to Access Hollywood's Shaun Robinson.

"I don't know where 'pancreatic cancer' came from. There was just so many wild things out there and just so many things being said that weren't true. I just felt I needed to address it a little," Franklin said. "I was sitting there reading the newspaper and it was saying someone in my family said that. No one in my family ever said that to anybody."

The "Respect" singer did, however, acknowledge that there had been a health scare.

"I went through a number of procedures before I knew what was wrong," she said, adding that "the pain was so hard it almost brought me to my knees…I really just began to not feel good and I said, 'Oh, no this is it, I can't do any more concerts till I know what the problem is.'"

Despite the health crisis, Franklin had promised that she'd be around for "many years to come."

The 76-year-old 18-time Grammy winner had battled a number of health issues in recent years and was forced to cancel several performances earlier this year due to health concerns, a statement from her management claiming that she had been "ordered by her doctor to stay off the road and rest completely for at least the next two months."

On Sunday, it was reported that the Memphis, Tennessee-born singer was ill and surrounded by her family in Detroit. A source close to the situation had revealed that the family had been told two weeks' prior that "she could go any time."

On Thursday, the Queen of Soul's publicist announced that Franklin had passed away "due to advance pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type," a diagnosis that had been confirmed by the singer's oncologist, Dr. Philip Phillips of Karmanos Cancer Institute.

"In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family," Franklin's family added in a statement.


Since news of her death broke, fans of the singer have flocked to social media to mourn the Queen of Soul, whose singing career began when she was just a child singing gospel music at church.