Aretha Franklin: A Queen Returns To Her Throne

The “Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin, may be getting her birthday wish a bit early this year. Per reports, Memphis has gathered together to honor the iconic singer, in a special way. As fans of the “Respect” singer may already know, Franklin – who just happened to celebrate her 76th birthday – has recently been battling health concerns.

The Queen of Soul’s management team says in a statement Friday that Franklin will not perform March 25 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, New Jersey. That show would have taken place on her 76th birthday.

Franklin also won’t appear April 28 at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Organizers say Rod Stewart will perform as the headliner instead.

The statement says the singer has been ordered by her doctor to stay off the road and rest completely for at least the next two months. It adds that Franklin is “extremely disappointed she cannot perform as she had expected and hoped to.”

Last year, Franklin announced her plans to retire, saying she would perform at “some select things.”

“I decided it was time to go home and take care of myself consistent with doctors’ orders,” she added.

Of course, this wasn’t the first-time the legendary soul singer has revealed her battle with a series of mysterious health issues. In a 2011 exclusive sit-down interview with Wendy Williams, she opened up about an incident that landed her in a Detroit-area hospital. “I heard it started with a pain in your side,” Williams, said, to which Franklin responded, “Yes, that was my first inkling that something was wrong, that something wasn’t what it should be.”

 

“The pain was so hard it nearly brought me to my knees,” the Queen of Soul continues. “So I said, ‘The concerts are over. I have to go find out what is wrong.'”

Though rumors surfaced claiming the singer was suffering from pancreatic cancer, she squashed them that same year. Only, it appears her illness has remained a mystery. Still, fast forward seven years and the Queen of Soul is still standing and has plans of a biopic being created about her.

In fact, it’s her strength, spirit and undeniable star power, which had her hometown on a mission to save the home she was birthed in – call it a birthday wish come true.

“If we can get one house right, no matter where it is, that’s a victory,” Alan Crone, special counsel to Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, told Shelby County Environmental Court Judge Larry Potter during a hearing on Thursday, March 23 – which was held to help figure out the future of the dilapidated house where Franklin was born, Billboard reports. “But this is a historic property, and its part of our heritage as Memphians that all kinds of music was literally born here.”