Singer and ‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin is reportedly ‘gravely ill,’ and her family and friends are asking for prayers while they’re with her in Detroit.
The Detroit News reported that Franklin has been in hospice care for a week, confirming with a person close to the singer that she is “seriously ill.”
“I am so saddened to report that the Queen of Soul and my good friend, Aretha Franklin is gravely ill,” reporter Evrod Cassimy tweeted. “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.”
According to PEOPLE, a longtime friend of the singer said that her death is “imminent.”
“She has been ill for a long time,” the friend told PEOPLE. “She did not want people to know and she didn’t make it public.”
Last November was the last time Franklin performed at Elton John’s annual AIDS Foundation gala, but earlier this year, she confirmed that she would retire from touring, aside from the occasional performance like New Orleans’ Jazz Fest. Franklin said that after touring for 56 years straight, she wanted to take a chance to be with her grandchildren and spend time with them before they head off to college.
“I feel very, very enriched and satisfied with respect to where my career came from, and where it is now,” Franklin told Detroit’s WDIV Local 4 after announcing her retirement. “I’ll be pretty much satisfied, but I’m not going to go anywhere and just sit down and do nothing. That wouldn’t be good either.”
However, this past March, Franklin cancelled her remaining tour dates – including her 76th birthday performance at New Orleans’ Jazz Fest – after her doctor ordered her to rest and stay off the road for a few months. However, her condition was not announced at that time.
While there is speculation about her condition, Franklin denied to be battling pancreatic cancer in 2010, but instead revealed that she had a tumor removed.
Fans reached out to the singer online, offering love and support to her and her family during this time. No more details have been announced about her health as of this morning.