Aretha Franklin Is 'Sick' But 'Home' With 'Family,' Says Nephew

Amidst reports that Aretha Franklin is "seriously ill," the legendary singer’s nephew Tim Franklin tells PEOPLE that she is “alert, laughing, teasing [and] able to recognize people.”

“Family is there with her. She’s home,” Franklin added on Tuesday (Aug. 14) of his 76-year-old aunt. He said that while the "Respect" hitmaker “is sick,” her family is “trying to keep her spirits up and go from there.”

“I saw her a week ago Friday and we talked for about 45 minutes to an hour. My brother was there on Saturday and she was alert, talking, laughing, joking,” Franklin said. “She’s watching TV, so God forbid she sees all of this ‘Aretha’s dead,’ so I don’t want to dampen her spirits on that.”

Indeed, hopes are high, with family, friends, and more rooting for the singer's well-being on social media. “We believe she’ll pull through it, she believes she’ll pull through it, and that’s the important thing,” Franklin said.