Aretha Franklin’s nephew Tim Franklin said the singer was “alert, laughing and teasing,” despite reports that the iconic singer was seriously ill.
“She’s alert, laughing, teasing, able to recognize people,” Tim Franklin told People following the news of her illness Monday.
“Family is there with her,” he said of the singer, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2010. “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.”
Tim also said that while the 76-year-old singer “is sick,” her family is “trying to keep her spirits up and go from there.”
“We believe she’ll pull through it, she believes she’ll pull through it, and that’s the important thing,” he said.
Showbiz 411’s Roger Friedman had originally reported on the Respect singer’s condition and later told CNN that “she has a great family, she’s surrounded by love and the world is sending prayers. All further announcements will be made by her family. We just want to send love and prayers.”
Detroit news anchor Evrod Cassimy was also in touch with Franklin’s family and took to Twitter to write, “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.”
Gwendolyn Quinn, a spokesperson for Franklin, released a statement saying: “Aretha Franklin has been the Matriarch of the Franklin family since the passing of all of her siblings.“
She continued: “The love she has for her family is above reproach and was evident in the warm smiles she was able to share with her nephew during his very brief visit two weeks ago. She is seriously ill and surrounded by family members who appreciate the outpouring of love and support they have received.”
Quinn also said that the singer “was never in a hospital during recent times” and has been home receiving hospice care.
She revaeled that Stevie Wonder visited the singer Tuesday morning and that Franklin’s ex-husband, Glynn Turman, and Rev. Jesse Jackson were also expected to visit.
READ MORE: WWE star Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart dead at 63
The moment came early in the show Monday night at Ford Field with Beyoncé saying, “We love you” and thanking the ailing 76-year-old singer for her “beautiful music.”
Franklin cancelled planned concerts earlier this year after she was ordered by her doctor to stay off the road and rest up. She was originally scheduled to perform on her 76th birthday in March in Newark, N.J., and at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in April.
Last year, the icon announced her plans to retire, saying she would perform at “some select things.” One of those select events was a gala for Elton John’s 25th anniversary of his AIDS foundation in November in New York City, where Franklin closed the event with a collection of songs including I Say a Little Prayer and Freeway.
— With files from the Associated Press