We’re not the only ones missing the late Aretha Franklin. Before the unfortunate death of the “Queen of Soul” at age 76 on Thursday, Aug. 16, it was revealed she got a visit from three very special visitors. Her longtime publicist Gwendolyn Quinn confirmed to Us Weekly on Tuesday, Aug. 14 that Stevie Wonder went to see Aretha in Detroit before she died. The news outlet had also reported that her ex-husband Glynn Turman (they were married from 1978 until 1984) and Jesse Jackson visited Aretha.
And now, Stevie has shared the last words he said to Aretha during his visit with the music sensation this past Monday. A tearful Steve revealed that while he was talking to Aretha, she unfortunately, wasn’t able to speak back. “I just said all the things that I’ve always said. I told her to say hello to my sister that I lost this year as well,” he told CBS News of their final exchange.
He also revealed the two actually had big plans to do more music together before her passing. “We talked about doing some music as recent as maybe two months ago. There was I song I had written called ‘The Future’ and we were going to sing it together,” Stevie confessed.
The “Isn’t She Lovely” singer went on to gush about how much the late star has made an impact on the music industry. “She did incredible music. She touched every genre. Every singer was influenced in some way by the way she sang and they will forever be influenced by her because of her voice, her emotion. Her sincerity is unforgettable.”
Aside from just music, Stevie gushed about how great of a person Aretha was. “She was consistently a great human being. She always, even with whatever turmoil that may have been happening in her life, even through her illness, she did not put that on anyone else. She believed she was doing God’s work and she was. She brought joy to a lot of lives.”
Reporter Harry Hairston additionally tweeted a sad message regarding the singer’s condition on Monday, Aug. 13. “Spoke with close friend of Aretha Franklin and family. Iconic singer not doing well,” he wrote on the social media platform at the time. And on Thursday, Aug. 16, her family confirmed her death with an emotional statement.
Aretha had been battling health issues since 2010. Aretha confirmed there was a health scare, but denied rumors it was pancreatic cancer. During an interview in 2011, she addressed her diagnosis. “I don’t know where pancreatic cancer came from,” she told Access Hollywood. “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.”
Her last performance was in November 2017 at the Elton John AIDS Foundation 25th anniversary gala. She was previously forced to cancel performances in April 2018. “Aretha Franklin has been ordered by her doctor to stay off the road and rest completely for at least the next two months,” her management told Rolling Stone at the time. “She is extremely disappointed she cannot perform at this year’s New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival as she had expected and hoped to.”
During a December interview with Closer Weekly, Aretha opened up about her drastic weight loss that was seemingly a result of her illness. “I’m doing very well,” she exclusively shared late last year. “I have lost a lot of weight due to the side effects from my medicine, but all of my tests are very good!” She added, “I will be spending more time with my grandchildren and family.” We’re glad Aretha got that special time with her family and friends before her death — and we’re keeping them in our thoughts during this difficult time.