The family of singer Aretha Franklin, 76-year-old, said on Monday that the legendary singer was “gravely ill,” confirming reports that surfaced Sunday night.
She is surrounded by her loved ones in Detroit, nine months after her last performance at the Elton John AIDS Foundation party in New York. It's believed she's been secretly battling cancer for some time now. Franklin began her career nearly 60 years ago, with the first of her 42 studio albums released in 1956 at the age of 14. She began her career as a child singing gospel at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, where her father, C. L. Franklin, was minister. Franklin achieved commercial acclaim and success with songs such as "Respect", "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman", "Spanish Harlem" and "Think". By the end of the 1960s decade she had gained the title "The Queen of Soul".
Franklin has won a total of 18 Grammy Awards and is one of the best-selling musical artists of all time, having sold over 75 million records worldwide. In 1987 she became the first female performer to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In August 2012, Franklin was also inducted into the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame. In 2014, she was granted the honorary degree of Doctor of Arts from Harvard University for her contributions to music. In 2017, Franklin canceled a series of concerts due to health reasons. During an outdoors Detroit show, Franklin told the audience to "keep me in your prayers."