Speaking to PEOPLE at her 74th birthday party in New York City in 2016, Franklin said she didn’t have plans to slow down.
“I’m here!” she said with a smile. “I’m not going anywhere. This is what I do. I’m going to be around. I’ll be like Perry Como [was], somewhere on a couch laying down with a microphone, still singing.”
The singer later added, “I’m a little tired, but I’m still enjoying all of it. Every birthday is a gift. Every day is a gift.”
Reports of declining health had been circulating for years, though the singer never confirmed any rumors of cancer or other such illnesses.
Franklin died on Aug. 16, 2018. She was 76.
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