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  1. ITV Report

Stars pray for 'seriously ill' Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin's most recent performance was at the 25th Anniversary Gala of the Elton John AIDS Foundation in November. Credit: AP

Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin is reported to be seriously ill, surrounded by her friends and family.

Floods of support have poured in for the singer, who is said to be in her home city of Detroit.

A source close to the 76-year-old confirmed to the Associated Press that she was seriously ill, but would give no further details.

American film critic and entertainment reporter Roger Friedman, who said he is a close friend of Franklin, said that the former gospel singer's family were "asking for prayers and privacy".

The likes of Mariah Carey, Missy Elliot and Ciara all wrote on Twitter they are "praying" for the star.

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Earlier in 2018, Franklin cancelled planned concerts on the orders of her doctor who told her to stop travelling so much and to rest, while in 2017 she announced her plans to retire, adding that she would still perform at "some select things" because she could not "just sit down and do nothing".

Franklin's most recent performance was at the 25th Anniversary Gala of the Elton John AIDS Foundation in November.

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The singer is thought to have been diagnosed with cancer in 2010 and soon afterwards underwent surgery for an undisclosed tumour, forcing her to cancel a number of shows.

In the years since, Franklin was forced to cancel a number of concerts due due to undisclosed health issues.

Aretha Franklin performs in 1972. Credit: AP

The singer came to prominence in the US in the 1960s with hits such as "Respect" and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman", earning the nickname the Queen of Soul by the end of the decade.

During her decades-long career, the singer has sold more than 75 million records worldwide, won 18 Grammy Awards and in 1987, she became the first female to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.