Gladys Knight is said to be in great health after rumors in August that she was suffering from pancreatic cancer in the wake of Aretha Franklin’s death. Knight, 74, has been active in show business since 1942 when she competed on “The Original Amateur Hour” on TV. Later that same year, Knight and several of her family members formed a musical act known as the Pips. The band joined Motown’s roster in 1966 and would have a massively successful career, churning out hit-after-hit until 1988 when the Pips retired and Knight went solo.
On February 3, 2019, Knight will sing the national anthem prior to Super Bowl 53 between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Knight Said the Last Time She Spoke to Aretha Franklin, the Pair Talked About ‘Sharing the Same Disease’
During a interview with WDIV on the day of Aretha Franklin’s funeral in August 2018, Knight, 74, said, “The last time I talked to her, we were at the same hotel and we didn’t know it… We got to talking and everything and at the time we shared the fact that we had the same disease.” Aretha Franklin’s funeral was held in Detroit on August 31. Knight had been performing at the funeral. Prior to singing, Knight said, “It’s been a great journey and he knows our every need, everywhere we are, and he gives us the remedies to everything, one way or another. Cause he loves us like that, even in our music. He sends us messages. And the little pain we feel right now, we can put it forward (this).”
2. Knight’s Publicist Made it Clear that the Singer ‘Is Fine’
Multiple outlets immediately jumped on the story that Gladys Knight has pancreatic cancer. The same disease that Franklin died from on August 16. Speaking to the Detroit News, Knight’s publicist, Jay Schwartz said that Knight was not suffering from pancreatic cancer that, “She is fine.” Schwartz went on to say that he didn’t know what Knight meant by the comment.
3. Knight Battled & Beat Stage 1 Breast Cancer
In a statement after the pancreatic cancer confusion, Knight said in a statement, via Page Six, that she had battled cancer, but hers was stage one breast cancer. Knight said that “Due to early detection, I am cancer free and grateful for that.” Knight blamed the confusion on “a reporter who did not relay accurate information has missed the message.”
4. Knight’s Son Was Accused of Threatening Expose Knight as Suffering From Alzheimer’s Disease in a Blackmail Plot
TMZ reported in September 2016 that Knight’s estranged son, Shanga Hankerson, had threatened to release medical information about the singer that was confidential. It was all part of an alleged blackmail plot. The secret information was that Knight was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Hankerson had been running a chain of restaurants in Atlanta, Gladys Knight’s Chicken and Waffles. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Hankerson had fallen into severe financial trouble with the IRS and that Hankerson was accused of running “sex parties.” Knight was at that stage trying to get her name removed from the restaurant.
5. In 2012, Knight Said That She Lost 60 Pounds Will Performing on ‘Dancing With the Stars’
In 2012, Knight took her many talents to “Dancing With the Stars.” Although she didn’t go home with the trophy, Knight said that from performing on the show, she shed 60 pounds. Speaking to People Magazine, Knight said her partner, Tristan MacManus spent the show “wearing me out.” Knight did add that her adherence to Fershology’s Getslim with the Stars program, helped her lose the extra weight. Knight said, “You’ve got to eat healthy and you’ve got to put a little movement into it.”