Don’t count out the Queen of Soul just yet as her family reports Aretha Franklin is smiling and laughing and resting easy, according to PEOPLE.
“She’s alert, laughing, teasing, able to recognize people,” Franklin’s nephew Tim Franklin tells PEOPLE after it was reported Monday that the legendary singer was gravely ill.
“Family is there with her,” he said. “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,” Tim continued. “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 legendary singer is reportedly battling health problems and is being cared for at home in Detroit by family. Rumors circulated that her condition placed her “near death,” but her family has backed off that claim.
The family is asking for prayers and privacy,” wrote Roger Friedman on the Showbiz 411 website.
“We believe she’ll pull through it, she believes she’ll pull through it, and that’s the important thing,” Tim Franklin added.
Detroit news anchor Evrod Cassimy was also in touch with Franklin’s family and reported:
“I am so saddened to report that the Queen of Soul and my good friend, Aretha Franklin is gravely ill. I spoke with her family members this morning. She is asking for your prayers at this time. I’ll have more details as I’m allowed to release,” Cassimy wrote on Twitter.
Last year Franklin announced her plans to retire from touring in February 2017, so that she could more time with family.
“I am retiring this year,” the iconic singer told a Detroit news station. “I will be recording, but this will be my last year in concert. This is it.” As news of Franklin’s delicate health and photos of her drastic weight loss started to make headlines, fans were saddened but understood her need to prioritize her health.
Throughout her legendary career Aretha Franklin accumulated 18 Grammy awards, including one for Lifetime Achievement.
Franklin’s most notable hits include “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” (1968), “Day Dreaming” (1972), “Jump to It” (1982), “Freeway of Love” (1985), and “A Rose Is Still A Rose,” (1998).
In 1987, she became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Beyonce and Jay-Z, who was in Franklin’s hometown of Detroit for their On the Run II tour at Ford Field last night, paid homage to the legendary singer by dedicating their show to her.
“We love you and thank you for all the beautiful music,” Beyonce said about the icon.
Get well, Queen Aretha. We’ll say a little prayer for you.