Aretha Franklin, popularly known as the Queen of Soul, is not doing well, according to recent reports. And, as one source revealed, she may soon pass.
A friend of Franklin's told People magazine that the "Respect" singer's death is "imminent," as she's "been ill for a long time." The insider added that Franklin didn't want the public to know just how bad her health was, so she kept her condition hidden.
As Nicki Swift previously reported, Franklin, who is 76 years old, was hospitalized in Detroit, Mich. as a result of her battle with cancer. Doctors allegedly told Franklin's loved ones that she could pass away at any time.
Franklin was previously thought to have had surgery for pancreatic cancer in December 2010 (via Variety). However, in January 2011, she claimed that she'd never had pancreatic cancer, though she did admit that she'd experienced a health scare. "I don't know where 'pancreatic cancer' came from," she told Access Hollywood.
At the time of this writing, Franklin is said to be resting at home with her loved ones by her side. "She's alert, laughing, teasing, able to recognize people," her nephew Tim shared, adding that Franklin's family is "trying to keep her spirits up." While she is sick, he expressed that both Franklin and her loved ones hope she'll "pull through."
However, despite her family's belief that she may overcome her illness, Franklin is in hospice care, as reported by CNN.
Franklin gave her final public performance at Philadelphia's Mann Center in August 2017 (before later singing at a November event for Elton John's AIDS Foundation). In March 2018, she'd canceled upcoming concerts, including a performance at Jazz Fest in New Orleans, after her doctor instructed her to put touring on pause (via Rolling Stone). "Aretha Franklin has been ordered by her doctor to stay off the road and rest completely for at least the next two months," her management said at the time. "She is extremely disappointed she cannot perform at this year's New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival as she had expected and hoped to."
However, despite her canceled tours and her reported declining health, Franklin is still expected to release a new record, titled A Brand New Album, in November 2018 (via AOL). As of this writing, there do not appear to be any plans to change the album's release date.
Since news of Franklin's declining health has made headlines, celebrities and fans have taken to social media to process their emotions and praise Franklin for her contributions to the music industry. For instance, "If Only You Knew" singer Patti LaBelle posted on Twitter, "My thoughts, my heart and my prayers are with Aretha Franklin, the greatest singer of all time, and all of her loved ones right now."
Artist Sheryl Crow tweeted out, "Love and prayers for Aretha Franklin. The most soulful angelic voice that ever was. You are the queen and we love you."
"Before we go to sleep, let's offer a thought or a prayer, for @ArethaFranklin," comedian and Let's Make a Deal host Wayne Brady wrote. "Truly one of the most magnificent voices and artists to grace us. Ever."
Superstar musicians and married couple Beyoncé and Jay-Z also paid their respects to the legendary singer, honoring her at their joint On the Run II concert at Detroit's Ford Field on the night of Monday, Aug. 13, 2018. Following the show's opening number, Beyoncé reportedly told concert attendees, "This show is dedicated to Aretha Franklin." She added, "We love you and thank you."
As People magazine noted, Beyoncé and Jay-Z's Detroit concert dedication to Franklin holds an extra special meaning, as Franklin began her singing career in her father's Detroit church. It's also where Franklin currently lives.
And, of course, it doesn't hurt that Franklin is a fan of Beyoncé, as she expressed on The Meredith Vieira Show in 2015. "She's a hard worker. That's what I really like about her," Franklin said. "You can see it in her presentation that she has put some time and energy into it."
Our thoughts remain with Franklin and her loved ones during this difficult time.