Aretha Franklin Cause of Death: How Did the ‘Respect’ Singer Die?

Aretha Franklin cause of death

Getty Aretha Franklin.

Aretha Franklin has died, according to the Associated Press. The queen of soul has been battling cancer for several years and her official cause of death is listed as advanced pancreatic cancer.

“Pancreatic cancer typically spreads rapidly to nearby organs. It is seldom detected in its early stages. But for people with pancreatic cysts or a family history of pancreatic cancer, some screening steps might help detect a problem early. One sign of pancreatic cancer is diabetes, especially when it occurs with weight loss, jaundice or pain in the upper abdomen that spreads to the back,” according to the Mayo Clinic.

Franklin was never forthcoming about her health issues. Back in 2010, for example, it was reported that Franklin was very sick. Rumors that Franklin had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer were abundant, but she denied those claims.

“There was just so many wild things out there and just so many things being said that weren’t true… I just felt I needed to address it a little. I don’t know where pancreatic cancer came from, she states. ‘I was sitting there reading the newspaper and it was saying someone in my family said that. No one in my family ever said that to anybody,” she said at the time.

When Franklin stepped back into the spotlight and started performing again, it was obvious that she had lost a significant amount of weight. Weight loss is described as a complication of pancreatic cancer according to the Mayo Clinic.

“A number of factors may cause weight loss in people with pancreatic cancer. The cancer itself may cause weight loss. Nausea and vomiting caused by cancer treatments or a tumor pressing on your stomach may make it difficult to eat. Or your body may have difficulty processing nutrients from food because your pancreas isn’t making enough digestive juices.”

In May 2017, Franklin told concertgoers that she had been fighting an “upper respiratory viral infection.” It is unknown if the infection was related to her underlying health issue.

“I’ve been fighting an upper respiratory viral infection. So you’ll forgive me if I miss a few notes,” Franklin told the crowd at the world premiere of Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives.

Franklin’s last performance took place on November 2, 2017, when she took the stage at the Elton John AIDS Foundation event in New York.

Franklin is survived by her longtime partner, Willie Wilkerson, and her four children. You can read more about Franklin’s relationship with Wilkerson here.