Aretha Franklin was “fighting all the way” to the end, according to her ex-husband Glynn Turman.
The Queen of Soul passed away on Thursday (16Aug18) at the age of 76 following a battle with advanced pancreatic cancer. Days earlier, it had been reported that she was “gravely ill” and her family and friends had rushed to her bedside at her home in Detroit, Michigan.
Her second ex-husband Glynn, who was married to the Respect singer between 1978 and 1982, was among her visitors, and he recalled his time with her during an interview via videolink with U.K. show Good Morning Britain on Friday morning.
“(Aretha was) strong to the very end. I was holding her hand at the bedside, holding her wrist, which was now no more than skin and bone, but her pulse was so strong and so, so full of life,” he said. “Her breathing was such a defiance of what was attacking her, that you got the sense Aretha was fighting all the way.”
In the chat, The Wire actor also described the singer’s sense of humour and her influence on the civil rights movement.
“She was always cracking jokes. She had a repertoire of jokes that she would try out on you… she could make a situation funny, which you didn’t necessarily think was funny, her take on it would crack you up,” he added.
“Aretha was not one who would waver easily, you have to come with a pretty strong argument to change her mind. Segregation was not a strong enough argument to convince her that that’s the way things should be. That was drummed into her at an early age from a man I think she respected more than anyone else – her father.”
You Got The Love singer Candi Staton also appeared on the show to talk about Aretha, who she met when she 12.
“Up until a few months ago, we were emailing each other until she got really sick. She is truly a legend and I am sad today, she’s going to be really missed,” she said. “She always called herself number one – ‘I’m the Queen’… We would always talk and when she would email me, her email was like #Number1Aretha. So she wasn’t too down! She knew she was ‘the Queen’.”