US 'Queen of Soul' Aretha Franklin gravely ill

President Obama Delivers Remarks At The White House's International Jazz Day Concert

Aretha announced plans to retire past year following one last album, in order to spend more time with her family.

But even if it's not cancer that is ailing the 24-time Grammy recipient, she is reportedly "gravely ill" with something, and could be close to death. "She is extremely disappointed she can not perform at this year's New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival as she had expected and hoped to".

Her family is asking for prayers and privacy at this hard time.

News of Franklin's health was trending on Twitter Monday morning.

In 2010, she cancelled concerts and took a step back from the spotlight after abdominal surgery for an undisclosed illness.

Speaking to Detroit radio station WDIV Local 4, she said: "I must tell you, I am retiring this year". "This will be my a year ago".

She later signed to Columbia Records at the age of 18, with plans to move into secular pop music in line with Sam Cooke's career.

The "Queen of Soul" has battled multiple health issues over the years, including pancreatic cancer in 2011.

The 76-year-old soul legend - who last performed at the Elton John Aids Foundation party in NY in November - is said to be at her home in Detroit.

In 1987 she became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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