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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