UPDATED: 11:27 a.m. EDT — The rumors about Aretha Franklin’s declining health are reportedly just that — rumors, according to a reporter who has been covering the Queen of Soul.
Her friends “spoke to Aretha moments ago and asked me to tell you please don’t believe this news that was trending,” Shaun Robinson, host of Access Hollywood, tweeted Tuesday morning.
A gossip news site reported Tuesday morning that Franklin had been hospitalized and her friends were preparing for her death from cancer. A Twitter account purporting to belong to Franklin later tweeted about “the passing of the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin.”
Franklin has had her share iff health complications in recent years but firmly denied any rumors of cancer in 2011.
Most recently she performed in New York City earlier this month.
Twitter users woke up Tuesday to see Aretha Franklin’s name trending and immediately suspected the worst, but there was no apparent confirmation of any impending health concerns despite a gossip news website reporting otherwise. “Celebrities are at the hospital saying goodbye” because “Aretha has been battling cancer for a while now,” according to “a source inside the hospital,” Fameolous Daily reported Tuesday morning.
The 75-year-old legendary soul singer has been dogged by rumors of cancer since at least 2011, which is likely fueling what seems to be resuscitated rumor and innuendo.
Here’s what we know about Franklin’s health:
Rumors of the diva’s health problems resurfaced in May, when she announced to an audience that she was battling an “upper respiratory viral infection.” Still, she managed to sing at the event honoring Clive Davis, the New York Post reported at the time.
That same month, the National Enquirer published reports of Franklin having lost more than 100 pounds because of a “cancer relapse,” an anonymous source told the news outlet known for gossip. “She was due to have radical chemotherapy treatments, and was told by doctors she needed to lose weight if she wanted to survive.”
The following month, she canceled a concert in Toronto scheduled for July because of “doctors orders,” according to the Daily Mail.
But she performed “a collection of songs” at an AIDS fundraiser earlier this month, according to the Detroit News, which didn’t report anything about apparent health concerns.
While she admitted to in 2011 that she had gone “through a number of procedures,” Franklin told Access Hollywood that “I don’t know where ‘pancreatic cancer’ [reports] came from.”
One year earlier, Franklin had “highly successful” surgery, though she never addressed the details of the procedure that forced her to cancel a series of scheduled concerts at the time.
There was no mention of any health concerns on her official website, which highlighted the latest news about her from the AIDS Foundation Gala performance on November 8.
Still, Twitter users seemed to panic at the reports, posting defiant messages and memes in support of the “Queen of Soul” singer and songwriter who has enjoyed a career that has lasted for more than six decades.