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Aretha Franklin ‘Gravely Ill’

Aretha Franklin. (Matthew Jordan Smith)
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(Celebrity Access) A source has told the Associated Press on condition of anonymity that Aretha Franklin is seriously ill but provided no other details. Meanwhile, reports are coming in that Franklin is in a Detroit hospice.

Family members told Detroit’s Local 4 news outlet that she is gravely ill, with the station’s Evord Cassimy tweeting “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.”

Nationally syndicated radio host Tom Joyner, a close associate of Franklin, said she has been in hospice care for a week, with two sources independently confirming that to the Detroit News. The website first announced Franklin’s condition on Sunday, including that her family was asking the public for prayers and privacy.

A source close to Franklin told TMZ he was told a week ago, “Prepare yourself, she’s dying” and was told she was down to 86 pounds and her health was failing. Two weeks ago, everyone in Franklin’s circle was told “she could go any time,” the source told TMZ.

Franklin, who has been known to cancel occasional tour dates, canceled more than usual after she was ordered by her doctor to stay home and rest up. The Queen of Soul underwent surgery to treat an undisclosed illness in 2010 but denied rumors that she had pancreatic cancer.

Franklin, 76, said she would soon retire. Her last appearance was at the Elton John AIDS Foundation fundraiser in November, closing the show with “I Say A Little Prayer” and “Freeway of Love.” The singer has won 18 Grammy Awards and has charted 73 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.

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