Jackson said in an interview with The Associated Press that he’s visited with the legendary singer four or five times recently, including a few days ago, and that Franklin’s “spirits are high, and her faith is strong.”
“She’s conscious, communicating and taking daily walks up and down the hall,” said Jackson, who accompanied Franklin on one of those walks during his most recent visit.
Franklin announced last week that she had undergone a surgical procedure, but neither she nor her publicist have said what is ailing the 68-year-old Queen of Soul.
Jackson wouldn’t either, other than to say his friend of more than 40 years is responding well to the surgery.
“She has amazing strength — body, religion and faith,” Jackson said. “It’s what he keeps her going.”
Last month, Franklin announced she was canceling all concert dates and personal appearances through May on the orders of her doctors.
It’s been a tough few months for Franklin, whose hits include “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “Chain of Fools” and her signature song, “Respect.”
Her son, Eddie, was beaten by three men at a Detroit gas station in September. And a month before that, Franklin broke ribs in a fall, causing her to miss two free concerts in New York.
Franklin is one of the most honored singers in American history, having won numerous Grammys, the National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She also has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.