Gladys Knight sparked fears that she is suffering from pancreatic cancer, the same disease that just claimed the life of friend and fellow music legend Aretha Franklin. The Motown legend now says that it was a misunderstanding.
Knight shared her diagnosis at Franklin’s funeral on Friday, appearing to say that that she is suffering from the same disease as her friend. A number of news outlets took that to mean that Knight is afflicted with pancreatic cancer, the deadly disease that led to Franklin’s death this week. But as USA Today noted, a spokesperson for Knight said the comments were not taken in correct context.
“She’s healthy. Someone must have misinterpreted,” said Javier Delgado, who works for the company that had represented Knight.
In comments on Friday, Knight recalled the last time she and Franklin had spoken and how they bonded over suffering from a common affliction.
“So we got to talking and everything, and at that time we shared the fact that we had the same disease,” said Knight.
Gladys Knight did not clarify exactly what disease she meant, but fans and media outlets took it to mean that she too had pancreatic cancer. TMZ reported that she had cancer, as did a number of other celebrity news outlets. Many fans even shared words of support for the fellow Motown singer, believing that she was facing what is often a fatal disease.
Gladys Knight Reveals She Has Pancreatic Cancer at Aretha Franklin’s Funeral -- Strength, perseverance & a whole lot of love @MsGladysKnight! We love you so much, you will defeat this! https://t.co/0VYEShswg0 pic.twitter.com/SBmOW9KKoy— EBONY MAGAZINE (@EBONYMag) August 31, 2018
Gladys Knight Reveals She's Battling Pancreatic Cancer https://t.co/dAUsWrSmBZ— TMZ (@TMZ) August 31, 2018
Gladys Knight later shared more details, noting that she was referring to cancer she had previously suffered and beaten. She seemed to regret the misunderstanding and how it took away from a day meant to honor her longtime friend.
“I’d like to clarify that Aretha and I discussed both of us having cancer, mine was stage 1 breast cancer and hers was pancreatic. Due to early detection, I am cancer free and grateful for that. It is unfortunate that on a day we should be celebrating Aretha’s life and massive contribution to our world, a reporter who did not relay accurate information has missed the message. I send my love to the entire Franklin family and my gratitude to them for sharing such an extraordinary person with us.”
Gladys Knight was among a number of musicians who performed at Aretha Franklin’s funeral on Friday. Not originally listed on the schedule for the nearly seven-hour event, she performed two songs — “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”