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ARETHA FRANKLIN SMILING

NEW YORK  — After battling back from health problems, the Queen of Soul plans to celebrate her 69th birthday in a big way in New York City.

PARTNER LINK: Rose McGowan Photos

Aretha Franklin has scheduled a birthday bash Friday at a luxury hotel with performances and special guests. Her publicist, Tracey Jordan, said Franklin planned to go to the theater earlier in the evening to catch “Driving Miss Daisy” on Broadway.

The music legend underwent surgery late last year in her native Detroit for an undisclosed ailment. Since then, she’s lost more than 80 pounds. Franklin has said the weight loss was because of a change in diet and exercise.

She’s due to return to the stage in May, and also has a new album on the way.

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