Beyoncé dedicated her concert with Jay-Z in Detroit Monday night to the ailing Aretha Franklin, bringing the 40,000-plus strong crowd at the city’s Ford Field to its feet.
“We love you,” Beyoncé said to the legendary singer, thanking her for “the beautiful music,” according to the Detroit Free Press. Ford Field is near Aretha Franklin Way, the Detroit street named last summer for the singer.
Beyonce’s dedication was short and sweet, although opening act DJ Khaled also drew cheers when he played Franklin’s breakthrough 1967 hit “Respect” during his set.
According to multiple sources, Franklin is gravely ill and receiving hospice care at her home. She received treatment for pancreatic cancer in 2010 and has been frequently unwell in the years since, although she continued to tour.
She last performed in November at the Elton John AIDS Foundation Gala in New York. At that performance — where John introduced her as “the greatest singer of all time” — Franklin appeared very slim but in fine voice as she delivered a nine-song set including “Say a Little Prayer,” “I Knew You Were Waiting” and “Freeway.” She was also honored at the Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Gala in New York in January. Franklin did not perform, but Jennifer Hudson — who had been personally selected by the singer to play her in a forthcoming biopic — performed several of her hits.
In 2017 the singer said she’d planned to retire from touring in the coming months, and announced that she was working with longtime friends and collaborators Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie and Elton John on a new album. Her most recent album is 2014’s “Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics.”