Aretha Franklin’s family have their expressed gratitude for the outpouring of love from fans across the world, as they confirmed the singer remains “seriously ill”.
News surfaced that the 76-year-old was ‘gravely ill’ on Monday and she was surrounded by her family at her bedside in her hometown of Detroit.
Her family has now said they appreciate the “love and support” coming from fans and artists who admire the legendary singer.
Aretha’s publicist, Gwendolyn Quinn, told People magazine: “Aretha Franklin has been the Matriarch of the Franklin family since the passing of all of her siblings.
“The love she has for her family is above reproach and was evident in the warm smiles she was able to share with her nephew during his very brief visit two weeks ago.
“She is seriously ill and surrounded by family members who appreciate the outpouring of love and support they have received.”
Gwendolyn also added that the Queen of Soul had been receiving famous visitors over the weekend, from the likes of Stevie Wonder, Jesse Jackson, and her ex-husband, actor Glynn Turman.
Her nephew, Tim Franklin, said Aretha is in good spirits and had been laughing with family in the last few days.
He said: “She’s alert, laughing, teasing, able to recognise 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.”
However, he added he is worried she may be upset by reports on her health: “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.”
The ‘I Say A Little Prayer’ singer, who has lost three siblings to cancer, was diagnosed with the disease in 2010.
She returned to the stage in 2013 after surgery, but Tim admitted “she has been ill for a long time.”
He added: “She is sick but her family are 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.”
Aretha made her final public performance in November 2017 at Elton John’s AIDS Foundation Party, reportedly battling through ‘exhaustion and dehydration’ to ‘miraculously’ complete the show.
She went on to cancel several further performances after confirming she would be retiring.
Earlier this week, Beyoncé and Jay Z dedicated one of their shows to the soul singer, thanking her for “all the beautiful music”.