After undergoing surgery for a mystery illness in early December, relatives of “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin recently confirmed that she is suffering from pancreatic cancer.
According Detroit Fox affiliate WJBK, Franklin’s family confirmed reports of her illness to reporters on Dec. 8, adding that she is “okay,” but the family is still “very concerned.”
After receiving surgery last week, reports circulated that Franklin, 68, was recovering. According to Reuters, civil rights leader Jesse Jackson visited the singer in the hospital.
“She’s doing very well. She’s prayerful. She’s a woman full of deep religious faith,” Jackson told WJBK.
Franklin released a statement on Dec. 2 detailing the success of the procedure.
“The surgery was highly successful. God is still in control. I had superb doctors and nurses whom were blessed by all the prayers of the city and the country. God bless you all for your prayers!–The Queen of Soul, Ms. Aretha Franklin,” the statement read.
According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 43,000 people–most of them over 65 years old–.are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the U.S. each year.
An estimated 20 percent of those diagnosed survive one year, according to the American Cancer Society; the five-year survival rate is 4 percent.
The low survival rate is linked to the often late discovery of the disease before it has spread beyond the pancreas.
The past year has been a turbulent one for the soul icon. According to Fox News, her adult son Eddie was beaten up by three men at a Detroit gas station in September. Just a month earlier, Franklin broke several ribs after experiencing a fall.