The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin is ‘gravely ill’ and currently surrounded by family and friends who are preparing to say their final goodbye, it has been reported.
Franklin, 76, is reportedly down to 86 pounds and has been battling cancer.
A longtime friend of the songstress said he was told a week ago to prepare himself because she was dying, he told TMZ.
He also revealed that Aretha’s family and friends were informed two weeks ago that she ‘could go at any time’.
Another source revealed to the site that Aretha has been battling cancer, although they did not disclose what kind.
Aretha’s family has since confirmed the reports of the singer’s failing health to WDIV.
The Queen of Soul was performing as recently as last year but canceled a series of concerts last summer, citing ‘doctor’s orders’.
Her last performance was on November 2, 2017 for the Elton John AIDS Foundation in New York and final public performance was at Philadelphia’s Mann Center in August 2017.
Aretha had revealed earlier in 2017 that it would be her final year performing after releasing her 42nd studio album A Brand New Me.
‘I will be recording, but this will be my last year in concert,’ she announced during a Detroit radio interview that February. ‘This is it.’
‘I feel very, very enriched and satisfied with respect to where my career came from, and where it is now,’ she added.
‘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.’
The Respect icon has struggled with weight issues throughout her life, and has battled alcoholism. She was also previously a chain smoker.
While still amazingly performing into her seventies, the superstar has on occasion canceled performances for undisclosed medical treatments.
Aretha denied reports that she was battling pancreatic cancer in 2011.
However all three of Aretha’s siblings fell to cancer.
Her brother Cecil, who was also her manager, died from lung cancer in December 1989.
Her sister Carolyn died the previous year in April 1988 from breast cancer, while eldest sister Erma passed from throat cancer in September 2002.
To say Aretha’s career is legendary would be an understatement. Her career has helped shape American history.
She performed Precious Lord at Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral in 1968.
Aretha was the daughter of famed civil rights activist CL Franklin, who organized one of the largest marches for racial equality in the nation.
The march, which was held in Detroit, was the very first place King delivered his iconic ‘I Have A Dream’ speech.
‘We look at, and we reflect on his accomplishment, and his achievement in organizing the community in this way,’ Aretha said of her father in 1963.
‘And I’m very, very happy and pleased and as proud as punch of my dad, having been the single person that organized it all.’
Aretha was the fist ever woman inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. She also topped Rolling Stone’s Greatest Artists Of All Time list.
She has won 20 Grammys in throughout her career, the third-most Grammy Awards for any female artist in history.
Aretha was also awarded three special awards from the Grammys, including the Legend Award (1991), the Lifetime Achievement Award (1994), and the MusiCares Person of the Year (2008).