Aretha Franklin Resting at Home as Family Remains Hopeful Despite Health Battle, Says Nephew
Aretha Franklin is surrounded by her loved ones and resting at home, a member of the iconic singer’s family tells PEOPLE.
“She’s alert, laughing, teasing, able to recognize people,” Franklin’s nephew Tim Franklin tells PEOPLE following the news of the 76-year-old star’s illness Monday.
“Family is there with her,” he said. “She’s home.”
“I saw her a week ago Friday and we talked for about 45 minutes to an hour. My brother was there on Saturday and she was alert, talking, laughing, joking,” Tim continued. “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.”
A friend of the artist has confirmed to PEOPLE that the singer has “been ill for a long time” and her loved ones have been warned her “death is imminent.”
However, her family is choosing to remain hopeful. Tim tells PEOPLE that while the singer “is sick,” her family is “trying to keep her spirits up and go from there.”
“We believe she’ll pull through it, she believes she’ll pull through it, and that’s the important thing,” he added.
As her loved ones remain hopeful, CNN reported late Monday that the legendary singer is in hospice care.
Roger Friedman, a reporter with Showbiz 411, was the first to speak on Franklin’s ailing health.
Detroit news anchor Evrod Cassimy was also in touch with Franklin’s family.
“I am so saddened to report that the Queen of Soul and my good friend, Aretha Franklin is gravely ill. I spoke with her family members this morning. She is asking for your prayers at this time. I’ll have more details as I’m allowed to release,” Cassimy wrote on Twitter.
In March, Franklin’s doctor ordered her to cancel her performances, one year after she announced she was retiring from music.
“I will be recording, but this will be my last year in concert. This is it,” Franklin told a Detroit TV station.
However, she returned to the stage in August 2017 for a performance at the Mann Center in Philadelphia.
While concern for her health has grown, Franklin has remained tight-lipped on her condition.
In April 2011, PEOPLE caught up with Franklin after she was hospitalized for an operation.
“I feel fabulous, really,” she explained.
“And I’m so thankful to all of the people who said a little prayer for me,” she said at the time. “People at the check out line the market were telling me that they prayed for me. It’s amazing how beautiful people can be.”