Aretha Franklin is seriously ill, according to a person close to the singer. The person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to publicly talk about the topic, told The Associated Press on Monday (Aug. 13) that Franklin is seriously ill. No more details were provided.
The Queen of Soul canceled planned concerts earlier this year after she was ordered by her doctor to stay off the road and rest up. A spokesperson for Franklin could not be reached for further details on her condition at press time. The singer underwent surgery for an undisclosed illness in 2010, denying that rumors that she was suffering from pancreatic cancer.
Last year, the 76-year-old icon announced her plans to retire, saying she would perform at “some select things”; her last appearance was at the Elton John AIDS Foundation fundraiser in November. Signed in 1960 to Columbia Records by John Hammond, the legendary record producer who had sparked the careers of artists from Billie Holiday and Bob Dylan to Bruce Springsteen, Franklin had her first, modest top 40 hit 57 years ago (“Rock-A-Bye Your Baby With a Dixie Melody”). She found her chart-topping success only after moving to Atlantic Records in 1966, collaborating with producer Jerry Wexler, engineer Tom Dowd and arranger Arif Mardin.
Franklin has won 18 Grammy Awards while selling 8.8 million albums during the Nielsen Music era. She has charted 73 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, the most of any female artist and the ninth-most of all artists, including such pop/R&B anthems as “Respect,” “Chain of Fools,” “Think” and “Freeway of Love.”