A close friend of Aretha Franklin is confirming that the ‘Queen of Soul’ is seriously ill. Detroit news anchor, Evrod Cassimy, reported that “Aretha Franklin is gravely ill.” He spoke with her family members on Sunday evening, who were gathered at her bedside at a Detroit Hospital.
Earlier this morning, Cassimy updated fans by adding “Just got a chance to speak to Aretha Franklin. She is alert and speaking, tweeting. She is resting and surrounded by close friends and family.”
An article posted on people.com reported that a longtime friend told PEOPLE that 76 year-old Aretha Franklin “has been ill for a long time. She did not want people to know and she didn’t make it public.”
Just last year, the Queen of Soul announced her plans to retire, saying she would perform at “some select things.” One of those select events was a gala for Elton John’s 25th anniversary of his AIDS foundation in November in New York City, where Franklin closed the event with a collection of songs including “I Say a Little Prayer” and “Freeway.”