*It was incorrectly reported by several media outlets that Gladys Knight has the same kind of cancer that Aretha Franklin succumbed to, pancreatic cancer. However, the singer’s spokesperson set the record straight with a statement to the Detroit Free Press.
“She’s healthy. Someone must have misinterpreted,” said Javier Delgado, a publicist with JDS PR, which represents the onetime Motown star.
The issue regarding Knight’s health started trending online after the 74-year-old singer spoke to reporters about Franklin before entering Detroit’s Greater Grace Temple for Friday’s funeral.
Knight talked about the last time she had spoken to her “sister” Franklin while staying at the same hotel:
“So we got to talking and everything, and at that time we shared the fact that we had the same disease,” said Knight. She did not elaborate and that’s what started the speculation. This is another instance that shows how words matter.
Later, Knight’s publicist, Jay Schwartz, put out a statement from Knight explaining the earlier comment.
“I’d like to clarify that Aretha and I discussed both of us having cancer, mine was stage 1 breast cancer and hers was pancreatic. Due to early detection, I am cancer free and grateful for that. It is unfortunate that on a day we should be celebrating Aretha’s life and massive contribution to our world, a reporter who did not relay accurate information has missed the message. I send my love to the entire Franklin family and my gratitude to them for sharing such an extraordinary person with us.”
USA Today notes that Knight was an unannounced addition to the funeral proceedings, and performed two songs near the end of the services: “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”