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October 1, 2014

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UPDATE: Ailing Aretha Franklin Reveals She 'Feels Great' in Post Surgery Interview

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Aretha Franklin is home for the holidays. And she's glad about it.

Fans have been sending up well wishes to The Queen of Soul since hearing that she is suffering from what could be pancreatic cancer.

The 20-time Grammy Award winning music legend granted an exclusive phone interview with her longtime friend, Clarence Waldron of Jet magazine– the first she's granted since falling ill.

"I feel great," Franklin said. "The doctors say I can do whatever I feel like I am up to do. Of course, that doesn't mean any concerts or anything like that, but I can do things around the house and today I am just piddling around the house."Though she stayed mum on the specifics of her surgery and what ailment she is suffering from, the Memphis native revealed that doctors want her to recuperate for about eight weeks. Franklin promised the black-owned weekly newsmagazine that she would soon reveal what is ailing her, but is working on resting – something that over the span of her career she's done little of.

"I am putting Aretha together first," she shared. "We will put Ree Ree together first. This is Aretha time to do whatever it is that I need to do, but I will talk more later."

A who's who of entertainers, to include Oprah Winfrey, Jesse Jackson, Patti LaBelle, Berry Gordy, and Secretary of State Condeleezza Rice, whom she last performed with, have all personally contacted Franklin to check on her well being.

"I might not remember everyone's name right this moment, but please, I want them [to] know I appreciate their prayers, "she said. "My family has been with me every step of the way. I couldn't have done it without them, that's for sure."

She particularly mentioned her longtime escort/security chief and family friend Willie Wilkerson, her sons, her niece Sabrina and her cousin Brenda for their close attention to her health.

As far as the holiday season goes, Franklin told Jet that she's thankful for her improved health: "God has given me the greatest gift already for the holidays. I am so grateful."

Yesterday, Franklin issued a statement through her current spokesperson, Tracey Jordan, which read, "My family and friends who brought me home are taking great care of me. I also have a private nurse who visits on a daily basis. I'm hoping to be strong enough to go out and see the upcoming Sam Cooke play at the Music Hall in downtown Detroit before January 2, as well as a performance of 'Dreamgirls' at the Fox before it closes."


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Her Royal Highness

After recording a string of jazz and blues projects for Columbia Records, Memphis born songstress Aretha Franklin landed at Atlantic Records in 1966. "They made me sit down on the piano and the hits came," she later said about her legacy there.

Her Royal Highness

Aretha Franklin performing during a Martin Luther King Benefit at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York on June 28, 1968.

Her Royal Highness

Aretha Franklin with 'Soul Train' creator Don Cornelius. Franklin was one of many entertainers who performed on the long-running show during its 1970s heyday.

Her Royal Highness

Aretha Franklin rehearsing for Inaugural Eve program for newly elected US President Jimmy Carter and Vice President Walter Mondale at the Kennedy Center in 1977.

Her Royal Highness

Flanked in fur, Aretha Franklin in the press room at the Grammy Awards, circa early 1980s.

Her Royal Highness

Aretha Franklin performing in Chicago on April 18, 1985.

Her Royal Highness

Aretha Franklin, pictured here with Atlantic Records chairman Ahmet Ertegun (circa early 1990s), at a private music industry party.

Her Royal Highness

Aretha Franklin and Luciano Pavarotti are photographed at the 8th Annual Music Cares Gala in Honor of the famed opera singer. The event took place at New York City's posh Waldorf Astoria Hotel on February 23, 1998.

Her Royal Highness

Aretha Franklin held royal court during the broadcast of 'VH1 Divas Live' at the Beacon Theatre in New York City on April 14, 1998. During the show's finale a stirring rendition of her classic song, 'Natural Woman (You Make Me Feel),' The Queen of Soul is joined by Gloria Estefan, Mariah Carey, Carole King, Celine Dion and Shania Twain.

Her Royal Highness

On September 29, 1999, President Bill Clinton, along with First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, awarded Aretha Franklin with the 1999 National Medal of Arts and Humanities Award at Constitution Hall in Washington, DC.

Her Royal Highness


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