What Happened to Aretha Franklin? Rep Speaks Out Amid Erroneous Death Rumors

Legendary singer Aretha Franklin did not die, nor does she have pancreatic cancer. The "Respect" singer's name became a top-trending tweet on Tuesday, which usually means one of two things when it concerns a person of a certain age: She's dead, or it's a death hoax. With more than 15,000 mentions, fans feared that one of the greatest was gone. They were wrong.

TV host Shaun Robinson, who serves as a rep for Franklin, put the rumors to rest. "Good Morning, Everyone. I just spoke to one of Ms. Franklin's family friends in my hometown of Detroit," she tweeted. "They spoke to Aretha moments ago and asked me to tell you please don't believe this news that was trending. Have a good day."

The rumor was started by a phony Aretha Franklin Twitter account: "It Is With Sad News That We Announce the Passing Of The 'Queen Of Soul' Aretha Franklin 1942-2017." Even though Franklin's Twitter account is verified, and the impersonator's handle is not, the message went viral. Some users used memes to express their dismay over Franklin's fictitious death.

It's not the first time Franklin has had to correct health rumors. Back in 2011, fake news suggested she was battling pancreatic cancer. "I don't know where pancreatic cancer came from," Franklin, 75, told Access Hollywood at the time. "I was sitting there reading the newspaper and it was saying someone in my family said that. No one in my family ever said that to anybody."

Franklin did admit to experiencing severe pain in her side, so bad it "almost brought me to my knees." The singer went in for surgery and reemerged even stronger than before. "[My doctor] said the surgery that you just had is going to add 15 to 20 more years to your life," Franklin said.

The multiple Grammy winner is one of the giants of modern music, famous for hits like "Freeway of Love," "I Say a Little Prayer," "Baby I Love You," "Think" and "Chain of Fools"—to name a very few. She and "Anaconda" rapper Nicki Minaj are tied for most Billboard Hot 100 songs by a woman.

What Happened to Aretha Franklin? Rep Speaks Out Amid Erroneous Death Rumors | Culture