If you’ve been on the internet lately, you may have seen this:
That’s right. That is a very real-looking Twitter account for Aretha Franklin, complete with the handle @ArethaFranklin, which was tweeting earlier this week about the death of the Queen of Soul. Take a breath, Franklin fans, because it’s totally fake.
Celebrity death hoaxes happen all the time, and it can be both amusing and sincerely morbid because we have to hear celebrities respond to the “news” of their own deaths. That’s exactly what Franklin did after this tweet went viral and #RIPArethaFranklin started trending on Twitter.
“I’m doing well generally, all test have come back good,” Franklin, who has struggled a little bit with her health in recent months, told Us Weekly in an emailed statement. “I’ve lost a lot of weight due to side effects of medicine, it affects your weight… Thanxxx for your concern.”
Still, that tweet had a lot of people fooled. Franklin is 75 years old, after all, so news of her death wouldn’t be particularly outside the realm of possibility. Sadly, it’s also not the first time false news about Franklin has spread like wildfire. After a medical procedure in 2011, reports emerged she had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, one of the most deadly forms of cancer a person can get.
“I don’t know where ‘pancreatic cancer’ came from,” she told Access Hollywood at the time. “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.”
While Franklin is certainly not dead, she is stepping back from her music career. She announced earlier this year that she was retiring, but that she didn’t plan to sit idle.
We’re glad she’s doing just fine. But also, can people please stop spreading these nasty death rumors? That must be distressing for Franklin, who is inevitably forced to comment every time is happens.