Aretha Franklin was baffled to hear the media attribute her recent health crisis to pancreatic cancer, insisting she has no idea where that rumor came from. The Queen of Soul, 68, canceled a string of end-of-year concerts last month on the advice of her doctors after struggling with a mystery illness.
She was subsequently hospitalized and forced to undergo surgery, amid claims she had been diagnosed with the deadly disease, with unidentified family sources appearing to confirm the news. Franklin has since spoken out about her health problems to assure fans she is recovering well from the operation, but she has repeatedly refused to divulge details about what ailed her.
However, the "R.E.S.P.E.C.T." singer wants to clear up the false cancer reports, revealing only that she sought medical help after experiencing a pain in her side that "was so hard it almost brought me to my knees." She tells news show Access Hollywood, "I don't know where 'pancreatic cancer' came from. 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."
The star claims the successful surgery has added at least 15 years to her life, according to her doctor, and there is one particular high-profile fan who has been cheering her on throughout her recovery - U.S. president Barack Obama. She says, "I got a wonderful and beautiful letter from the President. And nobody does it like him!"