US ‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin gravely ill, family friend says

Aretha Franklin via her Facebook page in 2014

Original "Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin is understood to be "gravely ill" in Detroit. She's my favourite singer; I am a big Aretha Franklin fan.

There are fears Aretha Franklin's health is deteriorating rapidly following reports that her family has rushed to her bedside to say their final goodbyes.

Back in March the musician was forced to cancel some concerts, including a show in New Orleans, under "doctor's orders".

As an interpreter of songs and singular vocal talent, many consider Franklin to be peerless.

HuffPost UK has contacted a representative for Aretha for comment, and is awaiting a response.

The soul legend last performed on 2nd November 2017 for the benefit of the AIDS Foundation in NY, after stating her intention to retire in February that same year.

She said at the time: "I must tell you, I am retiring this year". However, while she admitted in 2011 that she had gone "through a number of procedures", Franklin told Access Hollywood that "I don't know where "pancreatic cancer" [reports] came from".

More news: Jose Mourinho: 'Manchester United left in a hard position'

In 2002, her eldest sister Erma died of throat cancer.

With word spreading quickly, her name and "Queen of Soul" were trending on Twitter through the morning with many tweeting their sympathies and concern.

Speaking warmly about her incredible career, she said she felt "exuberant" about her plans as she vowed to do "some select things, maybe one a month, for six months out of the year".

"Spoke with close friend of Aretha Franklin and family".

Over the course of her five-decade career, Aretha has earned 18 Grammy awards and sold over 75 million records.

"I will be recording, but this will be my past year in concert".

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