As ailing soul great Aretha Franklin battles a grave illness, Beyonce has honoured her to thunderous cheers at a concert with her husband Jay Z in the Queen of Soul’s hometown of Detroit.

Franklin is reportedly gravely ill and surrounded by loved ones in Detroit as they gather to say goodbye to the 76-year-old who in recent years has battled undisclosed health issues.

The Detroit Free Press has reported Beyonce paid homage to Franklin early in her performance at the Ford Field on Monday night saying: “We love you” and thanking Franklin for her “beautiful music.”

Opening the show, DJ Khaled got the crowd excited when he played one of Franklin’s biggest hits, “Respect”.

A person close to Franklin, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press the singer is seriously ill. No more details were provided.

Fans and friends, including Mariah Carey and Missy Elliott, have offered prayers and well wishes to the iconic soul singer.


Carey, who considers Franklin one of her biggest influences, wrote on Twitter that she is “praying for the Queen of Soul”.

Franklin last performed in November at the Elton John AIDS Foundation Gala. She has previously struggled with alcoholism, obesity and a heavy smoking habit.

Franklin was born in Memphis and is the daughter of the pastor and civil rights activist CL Franklin. She showed great talent as a child singing and playing piano in the church, and signed with Columbia Records as a teenager.

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