Most of us know the Queen of Soul. During her long career, Franklin won 18 Grammys, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and was the first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Rolling Stone magazine named her #1 of the 100 greatest singers of all time.
Aretha Franklin soothed us her smooth crooning and shook us to our core with the same voice. We grew up with her. But most didn’t know what she was truly struggling with behind closed doors: pancreatic cancer.
The 76-year-old legend passed in 2018 from complications related to the illness.
According to her publicist, Gwendolyn Quinn said through a family statement that Franklin passed at her home in Detroit due to advanced pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, which was confirmed by Franklin’s oncologist, Dr. Philip Phillips of Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit.
It was even reported that she was in hospice care at home and had been ill for some time.
In between legendary performances and chart-topping, Franklin had been battling health problems in recent years but never revealed the cause of her ailments.
“I’m not one to go into my personal health things,” during a 2013 USA Today interview.
The type of tumor Franklin had is rare — it’s found in about 6% of pancreatic cases — and tends to grow more slowly. It may not cause any symptoms until it is advanced and is sometimes called an islet cell tumor. Islet cells produce hormones in the pancreas, including insulin.
What is Pancreatic Cancer?
Per the Mayo Clinic, pancreatic cancer begins in the tissues of your pancreas — an organ in your abdomen that lies behind the lower part of your stomach. Your pancreas releases enzymes that aid digestion and produces hormones that help manage your blood sugar.