Aretha Franklin’s funeral today in Detroit is expected to be a star-studded tribute with politicians, dignitaries and celebrities from across the entertainment industry set to attend. Former President Bill Clinton, civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson and legendary Motown singer, songwriter and record producer Smokey Robinson will speak. Numerous musical tributes have also been planned for the service.
Franklin died on Aug. 16, 2018, of pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer.
Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PNETs) account for about six percent of all pancreatic tumors. They develop from the abnormal growth of endocrine (hormone-producing) cells in the pancreas called islet cells. This is why these tumors are sometimes referred to as “islet cell tumors.”
This year, 55,000 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, the third leading cause of cancer death in the United States. The disease is expected to become the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. by 2020.
“PanCAN mourns the loss of Ms. Franklin to pancreatic cancer, a disease with a five-year survival rate of just 9 percent,” said Julie Fleshman, JD, MBA, PanCAN president and CEO. “Additionally, African Americans have the highest incidence rate of pancreatic cancer – up to 59 percent higher than the incidence rates for other racial and ethnic groups. This is why our mission to double survival and find better treatment options is urgent.”
Franklin joins a growing list of other notable public figures, actors and musicians who’ve passed away from pancreatic cancer.
The Queen of Soul rose to fame during America’s Civil Rights era. Many credit her with not only bridging the gap between racial groups, but also for paving the way for African American and women musicians. Her arsenal of hits includes Motown favorites like “I Say a Little Prayer,” “Respect” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.”
Over her six decade-long career, she received 18 Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1987). In 2005, under President George W. Bush, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award of the United States.
Local Detroit stations will be covering the service live. Please check your local listings for up-to-the-minute coverage information in your area. CNN and Fox News cable networks will also cover the memorial live, and the Associated Press has announced plans to livestream the service online.
PanCAN has an urgent goal to improve outcomes for patients battling the disease today and double survival by 2020. The organization attacks pancreatic cancer using a comprehensive approach focused on research, clinical initiatives, patient services and advocacy.
About the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) is dedicated to fighting the world’s toughest cancer. In our urgent mission to save lives, we attack pancreatic cancer on all fronts: research, clinical initiatives, patient services and advocacy. Our effort is amplified by a nationwide network of grassroots support. We are determined to improve patient outcomes today and to double survival by 2020.
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network