Aretha Franklin is putting rumors suggesting that she is battling cancer to rest.
The R&B music legend sat down with Access Hollywood recently for an interview where she followed up with a few (still vague) details regarding her health condition and ended speculation that she has pancreatic cancer.
Access Hollywood’s Shaun Robinson — a friend of the Queen of Soul for nearly 20 years – got the scoop from Aretha, herself, as the seasoned singer revealed why she chose to address recent health rumors.
“Well, there was just so many wild things out there and just so many things being said that weren’t true,” Aretha told Shaun in a phone interview on Thursday. “I just felt I needed to address it a little.” Aretha, 68, admits there was indeed a health scare, but she isn’t ready to divulge specifics just yet. I went through a number of procedures before I knew what was wrong,” Aretha told Shaun. “I know that you revealed to Jet magazine that you initially sought treatment because of a pain in your side,” Shaun replied. “Did the pain get so severe that you said, ‘Hey, there’s got to be something wrong here?’”
“Yeah, the pain was so hard it almost brought me to my knees,” Aretha revealed. “I was in Birmingham and then Boston and after that concert the same pain hit me again. I really just began to not feel good and I said, ‘Oh, no this is it, I can’t do any more concerts till I know what the problem is,’” she added. The “Freedom” chanteuse shot down rampart reports that she had been stricken with pancreatic cancer, saying, “I don’t know where ‘pancreatic cancer’ came from.
“I was sitting there reading the newspaper and it was saying someone in my family said that,” Aretha continued. “No one in my family ever said that to anybody.” The beloved artist received an overwhelming outpouring of “Respect” from high-profile well-wishers during her recovery – including the Commander In Chief. “I got a wonderful and beautiful letter from the President,” Aretha told Shaun. “And nobody does it like him!”
Access is thrilled to report that Aretha is expected to continuing blessing us with her phenomenal voice and fashion-forward hats for the foreseeable future. “So, it’s safe to say to your fans that we will be seeing Aretha Franklin for many years to come, right?” Shaun asked Aretha. “That’s what my doctor said,” Aretha replied. “He said, ‘The surgery that you just had is going to add 15 to 20 more years to your life.’”
In addition to her positive health report, the singer has won yet another battle – her struggle with weight. “I’m down to a rockin’ [size] 16 – 18,” she excitedly told Shaun. “Oh, I’m comin’ with it, OK?!?” she laughed. “It’s getting better every day. I plan on keeping this weight that I have now — I’m so happy with it.”
Aretha is up for a Best R&B Grammy for her duet with Ronald Isley and while she’ll likely miss that party, she promises to resume her concert tour. “My concerts don’t start until May and then I’m going to reschedule Washington, Virginia and Kansas City,” she told Shaun. “Those are some of the places I had to cancel because of the procedure I had to have.”
Glad to hear Aretha’s doing better and those rumors about her having pancreatic cancer were false!