The Queen of Soul's family is reportedly gathered for a final goodbye. A source close to Franklin, 76, told the news outlet that he was told a week ago, "Prepare yourself, she's dying." He added that Franklin's health has been failing and that her weight has fallen to 86 pounds. Those close to the legendary singer and songwriter were reportedly told two weeks ago that "she could go any time."
A different source says she has been battling cancer, a rumor that has long flanked Franklin, although the only time she has ever spoken about it was when she reportedly told JET, "I am not going to even deal with that."
Detroit station WDIV confirmed Monday morning that Franklin is ill.
"I am so saddened to report that the Queen of Soul and my good friend, Aretha Franklin is gravely ill. I spoke with her family members this morning. She is asking for your prayers at this time. I'll have more details as I'm allowed to release," WDIV's Evrod Cassimy tweeted Monday morning.
BREAKING NEWS: I am so saddened to report that the Queen of Soul and my good friend, Aretha Franklin is gravely ill. I spoke with her family members this morning. She is asking for your prayers at this time. I’ll have more details as I’m allowed to release.— Evrod Cassimy (@EvrodCassimy) August 13, 2018
Later, Cassimy wrote that Franklin is alert and speaking. "Just got a chance to speak to Aretha Franklin. She is resting and surrounded by close friends and family," he wrote.
CNN reported Monday night that Franklin is in hospice care at her home.
Showbiz 411's Roger Friedman told the outlet: "She has a great family, she's surrounded by love, and the world is sending prayers. All further announcements will be made by her family. We just want to send love and prayers."
The "Respect" and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" songstress has performed on a limited basis in years past. Her most recent performance came in November 2017 at the Elton John AIDS Foundation's Enduring Vision benefit gala and the Mann Center in Philadelphia in August 2017. She was forced to cancel two scheduled performances in March and April of this year on doctor's orders, including her gig at the legendary New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
"Aretha Franklin has been ordered by her doctor to stay off the road and rest completely for at least the next two months," Franklin's management said in a statement at the time.
She released her most recent album, A Brand New Me, in November 2017, months after she announced she planned on retiring from live performances that year, although she said she would like to record another album.2comments
"I will be recording, but this will be my last year in concert. This is it," she told WDIV in February 2017, adding that she would still take the stage at "some select things."
Many high-profile music industry stars, like Mariah Carey, Ciara and Missy Elliott, have taken to social media to send well wishes Franklin's way.