Aretha Franklin died, according to Twitter accounts yesterday. Although Aretha Franklin died according to Internet rumors, many found it easy to believe anyway. Despite countless death hoaxes over the years online, people often believe them nonetheless. In this case, because of the current health problems of the legendary singer, it was much easier to fall for this one than many others. But Franklin hasn’t died yet, as she is still fighting her pancreatic cancer at the moment.
For the last several months, the Motown legend has been battling pancreatic cancer. News of this fight only broke a few weeks ago, although she has not officially confirmed her diagnosis. They have largely kept this a private matter, but a source had to come forward to deny recent rumors.
Twitter claimed Franklin died yesterday, and the rumors quickly spread throughout the network. Given how deadly pancreatic cancer is, and that there weren’t many official reports on how grave she might be, it was immediately reTweeted as fact. However, an anonymous source soon told the Detroit Free Press that it was not true.
The source claimed that Franklin was “home, alive and recovering” without going into greater detail. But it was enough to reassure fans that she wasn’t dead in spite of her difficult condition. Yet it was because of that condition that this rumor was so easily believed.
However, the reports that Franklin died may not have been a malicious hoax, like so many others online. The Detroit Free Press alleges that it could have been a mixup because of the real death of singer Teena Marie. Since she was called the “Ivory Queen of Soul,” which is almost similar to Franklin’s famous nickname, it may have gotten twisted around.
Even if it was an honest mistake, it is hard to differentiate those from the less honest ones. That is how the Internet death mill works, as it is difficult to take any reports of someone’s death seriously at first. But most of the time, the Internet kills celebrities who appear healthy, which makes it easier to detect hoaxes.
People believed Franklin died because of her condition, although she is in recovery right now. Her only public comments on the matter were to Jet Magazine on Dec. 15, after she got out of surgery. She said she would reveal what was really bothering her soon, but that she was focusing on “Aretha time” to rest for eight weeks.
As of now, it is safe to assume that she is still resting, and will still be alive to reveal more later. After that, the Queen of Soul may show she hasn’t died yet by going back on stage sometime in 2011.
Detroit Free Press- “Source: Aretha Franklin is alive, Web rumors wrong”
Jet- “Exclusive Interview: Aretha Franklin”