• 'Queen of Soul' Aretha Franklin is gravely ill

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    DETROIT - Legendary singer and songwriter Aretha Franklin is gravely ill, according to The Associated Press.

    Family members confirmed the news to WDIV-TV after a report from entertainment site Showbiz411 claimed Franklin was being surrounded by friends and family.

    The "Queen of Soul" canceled planned concerts earlier this year after she was ordered by her doctor to stay off the road and rest up.

    Last year, the 76-year-old icon announced her plans to retire, saying she would perform at "some select things."

    Franklin was born March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tennessee. Her family moved to Detroit when she was young.

    Franklin started singing when she was young, with encouragement from her mother, Barbara, and her father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin. She started out singing gospel, but launched a career in secular music after she turned 18. She rose to fame after signing in 1967 with Atlantic Records.


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    Franklin’s career, spanning six decades, has spawned hits including “Respect,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and “Chain of Fools.” 

    Franklin’s earned 18 Grammy Awards and a Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work. In 2005, then-President George W. Bush described Franklin as “a woman of achievement, deep character and a loving heart.”

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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