Gladys Knight’s publicist is denying reports that the “Midnight Train to Georgia” singer was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, moments after the singer claimed she and the late Aretha Franklin “had the same disease” in a live broadcast.
Her rep Javier Delgado told the Detroit News that Knight doesn’t have cancer. He added that he wasn’t sure what the 74-year-old singer meant by her comments.
In a live interview with Detroit’s WDIV, Knight recalled running into Franklin at the same hotel. She shared that the two eventually caught up after Franklin summoned her.
Knight then said “we shared the fact that we had the same disease,” referring to Franklin, who passed away earlier this month from pancreatic cancer. She was 76.
ESSENCE reached out to a rep for Knight, but didn’t immediately hear back.
When asked if she had one last word for her friend Franklin, Knight replied: “Have a safe journey home.”
In an interview earlier this week with Us Weekly, Knight mused about losing her friend.
“I miss her, but I didn’t want her to suffer,” Knight told the magazine. “I really didn’t. And, you know, people could see it. She just kept driving and driving, and she knew it was a disease that would take her out, and she just kept on doing what she does best. So Aretha, safe journey.”
According to The American Cancer Society, pancreatic cancer is a rare and deadly form of the disease, which affects around 55,000 people each year. While people can successfully treat this type of cancer when it’s detected and treated early, only a small percentage are diagnosed early enough to be treated with surgery.
Although Knight didn’t clarify her comments, she did talk about why God calls certain people, like Franklin, home.
“The Lord tells us where we are going and tells us when we are coming,” Knight explained to US. “So I’m not overly upset about it, and he knows how much each one of us can bear, and he calls us home with those things in mind. That’s the way I feel about it, because he loves us like that.”
Either way, prayers are up for Knight!