Aretha Franklin 'Gravely Ill,' as Family Asks for 'Prayers' for Queen Of Soul

Aretha Franklin, the original Queen of Soul whose legacy spans decades, is reported to be "gravely ill," with the legendary singer's loved ones gathering around her and asking fans to pray for her.

Franklin, 76, is said to have fallen ill in Detroit, acording to Roger Friedman, who is one of Franklin's friends, and who first reported the news on entertainment website Showbiz411.

Emmy-award winning investigative reporter Harry Hairston said in a tweet late Sunday evening that he had also spoken with a close friend of Franklin and her family, who said the "iconic singer" was "not doing well."

Get your unlimited Newsweek trial >

Friedman said it was "heartbreaking" for him to report on Franklin's condition.

He said Franklin, who has won multiple Grammy awards, was "surrounded by family and people close to her."

Aretha Franklin accepts applause as she finishes her performance with U.S. President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and Harry Johnson, president and CEO of the MLK National Memorial Project Fund (left) as they attend the dedication of the Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial on the National Mall, October 16, 2011 in Washington, DC. Mike Theiler-Pool/Getty

Franklin began her six-decade music career as a teenager, making her first recording as a gospel singer.

Get your unlimited Newsweek trial >

She went on to produce countless classics, including hits such as "Respect," "I Say a Little Prayer" and "(You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman" and won 18 Grammy Awards, including one for Lifetime Achievement.

In 1987, the legendary singer became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In 2005, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor for an American civilian, by President George W. Bush.

Franklin also performed at the White House several times throughout her career, and in January 2009, she delivered a powerful performance at Barack Obama's presidential inauguration, singing "My Country Tis of Thee."

The next year, in 2010, Franklin was diagnosed with cancer, Friedman noted in his story, writing that the legendary artist had "bravely battled back and refused to be knocked out by illness."

The "Respect" singer's last performance was on November 2, 2017, for the Elton John AIDS Foundation in New York, he said, adding that she also sang at the Philadelphia's Mann Center in August 2017.

"It was a miraculous show as Aretha was already then fighting exhaustion and dehydration," Friedman wrote.

He added that she would be "so missed as a mother, sister, friend, cousin."

But, he said: "her legacy is larger than life. It's not just that Rolling Stone called her the No. 1 singer of all time, or that she is the Queen of Soul. Long live the Queen."

Aretha Franklin 'Gravely Ill,' as Family Asks for 'Prayers' for Queen Of Soul | U.S.