The 76-year-old soul legend has been reported to be “gravely ill,” with her loved ones gathered to say their goodbyes, but her nephew Tim Franklin revealed she is in good spirits though he’s worried about her seeing reports her death is said to be imminent.
Tim Franklin told People magazine: “She’s alert, laughing, teasing, able to recognize people.
“Family is there with her. She’s home.
“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.
“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.”
But though friends have disclosed the “Respect” singer has “been ill for a long time”, her family remains hopeful she will pull through.
Tim Franklin added: “She is sick [but her family is] trying to keep her spirits up and go from there.
“We believe she’ll pull through it, she believes she’ll pull through it, and that’s the important thing.”
Meanwhile, following the reports of Aretha’s condition, Beyoncé and Jay-Z dedicated their “On The Run II Tour” performance at Ford Field in Detroit, where the singer lives, to the “Say A Little Prayer” hitmaker.
Beyoncé told the crowd: “This show is dedicated to Aretha Franklin. We love you and thank you.”
The icon’s longtime publicist Gwendolyn Quinn told People magazine that Franklin’s family is thankful for the “outpouring” of support they and the Queen of Soul have received since the news of the star’s condition was first reported.
Aretha’s final public performance was at the Mann Center in Philadelphia in August 2017, where she reportedly battled through “exhaustion and dehydration” to “miraculously” complete the show.
The “Natural Woman” singer canceled a number of concerts last year and admitted in February 2017 that her touring days were coming to an end.
She said at the time: “I will be recording, but this will be my last year in concert. This is it.”
Aretha, whose three siblings all died of cancer, has battled ill health over the last few years and in 2011, denied she was suffering from pancreatic cancer, though she later admitted she’d had a tumor removed.
Last November, she was the subject of a death hoax online but insisted she was “doing well” when she spoke up to deny the reports.
She said: “I’m doing well generally. All tests have come back good.”