(L) Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images, (R) Michael Tran / FilmMagic / Getty Images
As loved ones gather at the bedside of gravely ill Aretha Franklin, prayers and well wishes are flooding in from across the world as the 76-year-old Queen of Soul battles cancer.
Among those to offer sweet words was Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler, who our friends at TMZ managed to catch earlier this afternoon while out and about with girlfriend Aimee on the streets of New York City.
The 70-year-old rock legend hadn’t heard the news of Aretha’s condition and was genuinely surprised when a reporter revealed her illness, and even as he walked at a clip any New Yorker would be proud of Steven wasted no time sharing a heartfelt message for the Queen of Soul.
“Aretha Franklin, you’ve reached billions of people with your style and your magic, God bless you and everyone that’s got you on their mind. Big prayers for you, I love you, Aretha.”
Never one to miss a chance to burst into song, Steven served up a brief snippet of Aretha’s own “Respect” much to the delight of TMZ.
Family and friends have rushed to Detroit to gather around legendary singer Aretha Franklin, who is reportedly “gravely ill” and asking for prayers at this time. News of Franklin’s condition broke late last night when Showbiz 411 first reported on it, with Detroit news anchor Evrod Cassimy revealing this morning that members of the singer’s family reached out today to confirm the news.
“BREAKING NEWS: 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,” promised Cassimy in his early morning tweet.
Radio host Tom Joyner echoed Cassimy’s statement on his radio show this morning, adding that Franklin, 76, has been in hospice care for the past week. While reps for Franklin have yet to comment on the singer’s condition, it’s being said that she’s been battling cancer in recent months with doctor’s orders forcing her to cancel appearances at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in April and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center on March 25th, her 76th birthday.
Franklin began her musical journey singing gospel music in her father’s Baptist church before embarking on a solo career in secular music in 1960 at the age of 18 and hasn’t looked back, dominating the charts throughout the 60s with hits like “Think,” “Respect,” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and earning the title of ‘The Queen Of Soul’ by the end of the decade; she wasn’t even 30.
As if 6 decades, 18 Grammy Awards, and 75 million records sold worldwide weren’t enough, in 1987 she became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the honor performed by Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards.
No further information regarding Ms. Franklin’s condition is available at this time, but our hearts and prayers are with her and her loved ones at this time as they ask for prayers and privacy during this difficult time. This is a developing story, so be sure to stay tuned for more updates as they become available.
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