Aretha Franklin, the legendary soul and pop singer, is in hospice care at her home, gravely ill and surrounded by family, a source close to Franklin tells CNN's Don Lemon. A friend of Franklin, 76, tells People she has "been ill for a long time" and her friends and family have been warned that her "death is imminent." But nephew Tim Franklin was more positive. "She's alert, laughing, teasing, able to recognize people," he told People. "Family is there with her" at home, he said, adding: "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. ... We believe she'll pull through it, she believes she'll pull through it, and that's the important thing."
Franklin's professional singing career goes back to her first record deal in 1960, and by 1968 she had sealed her fame with hits like "Respect" and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman." She released her final album, A Brand New Me, last year, right after announcing her retirement, and her last known performance was at a benefit for the Elton John AIDS Foundation in November 2017. Peter Weber