Fans around the world expressed concern as news broke on Monday that legendary singer and trailblazer Aretha Franklin is seriously ill as she battles cancer. The 76-year-old remains surrounded by family and friends in her hometown of Detroit. During an On the Run II tour stop in the city on Monday night, Queen Bey decided to pay tribute to the Queen of Soul.
To get things started, DJ Khaled hyped up the crowd at Ford Field by playing Franklin’s iconic song “Respect.” The local channel 4 station captured footage of the crowd belting along to the song, which you can watch in the video above.
Then, according to the Detroit Free Press, Beyoncé arrived and dedicated the whole show to Franklin. "We love you," Beyoncé said, while also expressing gratitude for "the beautiful music."
During Bey's historic appearance in the September issue of Vogue, she praises Aretha Franklin alongside other iconic singers for making space for future musicians like herself. “Imagine if someone hadn’t given a chance to the brilliant women who came before me: Josephine Baker, Nina Simone, Eartha Kitt, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Whitney Houston, and the list goes on,” Knowles-Carter told Vogue. “They opened the doors for me, and I pray that I’m doing all I can to open doors for the next generation of talents.”
Franklin was born in Memphis, but grew up in Detroit. “My roots are there. The church is there. My family is there,” she told the Free Press in 2011. “I like the camaraderie in Detroit, how we’ll rally behind something that’s really worthy and come to each other’s assistance.”
Per TMZ, Franklin was told by doctors a week ago that her health was declining. One source says she’s been battling cancer, and another says she could pass away very soon.
A biopic on the soulful singer best known for "Respect," "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," "Spanish Harlem,” and so many other classic songs is currently expected to begin filming in 2019 and stars Jennifer Hudson.