Aretha Franklin ‘Gravely Ill’ In Hospital

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Legendary singer Aretha Franklin is ‘gravely ill’ in hospital, according to reports.

Aretha is said to be surrounded by friends and family in Detroit, and they are asking for prayers and privacy at this time.

The soul singer turned 76 in March. She was diagnosed with cancer in 2010 and has battled illness on and off ever since.

Her most recent performance was in November 2017 for the Elton John AIDS Foundation in New York, reports Showbiz 411. Her last public performance was in August 2017 in Philadelphia.

Earlier in 2017 the singer had announced it would be her final year performing live.

During a radio interview in Detroit back in February 2017, she said:

I will be recording, but this will be my last year in concert. This is it.

Harry Hairston, a reporter from Philadelphia recently tweeted:

Spoke with close friend of Aretha Franklin and family. Iconic singer not doing well.

Aretha has struggled with issues with her weight throughout her life, as well as battling alcoholism. Though still performing well into her seventies, the Respect singer has been known to cancel shows for undisclosed medical reasons, according to the Daily Mail.

Sadly, all three of Aretha’s siblings died from cancer. Her brother Cecil, who was also her manager, died in 1989. Her sister, Carolyn, died in 1988, while her eldest sister Erma also passed from cancer in 2002.

Aretha was the first ever woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

She has won 20 Grammy awards and three American Music Awards, among countless others, and was named by Rolling Stone as the greatest singer of all time.

Aretha FranklinGetty

In 1963, her father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin, organised what was at the time the largest march for racial equality in Detroit, where Martin Luther King first gave his iconic ‘I Have A Dream’ speech. Two months later he would deliver it again, in Washington, to the nation.

Aretha sang at Martin Luther King’s funeral in 1968.

The singer had a total of 20 number one R&B singles, and recorded around 130 singles and 42 studio albums in all, becoming the most charted female artist in Billboard‘s history.

In 1979 Aretha received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and her voice was declared a Michigan ‘natural resource’ in 1985. She was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award in 1994 and was bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.

Aretha FranklinGetty

After her performance of ‘A Natural Woman’ at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors, President Obama said:

Nobody embodies more fully the connection between the African-American spiritual, the blues, R&B, rock and roll – the way that hardship and sorrow were transformed into something full of beauty and vitality and hope.

Aretha was also awarded honorary degrees and doctorates from Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Brown and the New England Conservatory of Music, among others.

Aside from all the awards, however, Aretha is still best known her for her iconic songs such as ‘Respect’, ‘(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman’, ‘Think’ and ‘Spanish Harlem’.

Our thoughts are with Aretha, her family and friends at this time.

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Charlie Cocksedge

Charlie Cocksedge

Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.