Early Tuesday morning, an Aretha Franklin fan account, @ArethaFranklinn (note the two Ns, disregard the “official Twitter” bio description), tweeted about Franklin’s apparent death. “It Is With Sad News That We Announce The Passing Of The Queen Of Soul Aretha Franklin 1942-2017,” the tweet read. As the hashtag #RIPArethaFranklin began to trend on Twitter, Franklin herself, not from beyond the grave but from this mortal coil, felt impelled to weigh in—as you might, were rumors of your death trending on the internet.
“I’m doing well, generally,” Franklin told Us Weekly. Some recent tests had “come back good,” she said, and her medication has caused her to lose “a lot of” weight. “Thanxxxx for your concern.” If you’re debunking your own death hoax, you might as well use the full force of the X key to do so. (If Franklin actually died, though, it is not inconceivable she would fax the press release from the afterlife.)
Earlier in the day, Access Hollywood host and Franklin rep Shaun Robinson also offered an update on Twitter, urging followers “please don’t believe this news,” as she had just spoken with a family friend of Franklin who said the singer was alive and well. “Have a good day,” Robinson added.
This is not even the first death that Franklin, now 75, has survived. On December 28, 2010, rumors of her death hit the internet after she underwent surgery. She was perfectly fine, recovering from the “highly successful” procedure (she did not disclose what it was for), and would live seven more full years before her next supposed death. The following year, though, she was terminal again, addressing rumors that had emerged during her previous death hoax that she had pancreatic cancer. “I was sitting there reading the newspaper,” she told Access Hollywood in 2011, “and it was saying somebody in my family said that.” Reader, they did not.
Franklin does have an official Twitter account—predictably, @ArethaFranklin—but that account has not been active since 2015, having joined in January 2012. @ArethaFranklinn, by contrast, just joined Twitter this month. @ArethaFranklinn sent out its second tweet ever—the first being the news of Franklin’s death—last night. “Update: NOT DEAD,” it wrote. Not only is Franklin not dead, she is doing well. She is, however, retiring, as announced earlier this year. Case closed.
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