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Lebanese singer Elissa reveals cancer in new video

‘Queen of Soul’ Franklin gravely ill

CHICAGO, Aug 13, (Agencies): Singer Aretha Franklin, a multiple Grammy award-winner star whose legacy stretches back decades, is gravely ill and surrounded by relatives, a reporter and family friend wrote on his website Monday.

The 76 year-old “Queen of Soul” Franklin, known for hits such as “Respect” (1967) and “I Say a Little Prayer” (1968), “is gravely ill in Detroit. The family is asking for prayers and privacy,” wrote Roger Friedman on the Showbiz 411 website.

Franklin, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2010, last performed in November 2017 for the Elton John AIDS Foundation in New York. Her final public performance was in Philadelphia in August 2017.

“It was a miraculous show as Aretha was already then fighting exhaustion and dehydration,” Friedman wrote, describing the Philadelphia performance.

Throughout her lengthy career Franklin accumulated 18 Grammy awards, including one for Lifetime Achievement.

Franklin’s hits include “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” (1968), “Day Dreaming” (1972), “Jump to It” (1982), “Freeway of Love” (1985), and “A Rose Is Still A Rose” (1998).

In 1987 she became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

“I Knew You Were Waiting for Me”, a duet she sang with the late British singer George Michael, was one of her Grammy-winning hits.

In 2005 Franklin was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the highest award for an American civilian – by then-president George W. Bush.

And in January 2009 Franklin sang at Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration.

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Lebanese pop singer Elissa surprised fans this week by revealing in a new music video that she had overcome breast cancer, raising awareness of a disease campaigners say can be a taboo topic of discussion in Lebanon.

“Early detection of breast cancer can save your life. Don’t ignore it, face it,” 46-year-old Elissa wrote at the end of her video ‘To all who love me’, released on Tuesday.

Elissar Khoury, who performs under the name Elissa, is one of the best known and highest-selling female artists in the Arabic-speaking world, with 13.3 million followers on Twitter.

Elissa revealed in her video that she was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer in December. Interspersed with glittering dance scenes, the video shows her going under a medical scanner and lying in hospital beds.

It also includes footage of her collapsing on stage in February while performing in Dubai.

“I think there isn’t enough awareness in our Arab region about this. Elissa found out because she was educated enough… and she does her yearly check ups,” said video director Angy Jammal.

Lebanese gynaecologist and member of the National Breast Cancer Campaign, Faysal el-Kak, welcomed Elissa putting breast cancer in the spotlight.

“This is a very bold and progressive move,” he said, hoping increased awareness will help more people detect the early signs of cancer and seek out treatment.

“Women associate breasts with their identity as female and they think that breast cancer diagnosis would affect that. (We should) break this taboo and change this perception: early detection saves lives and saves their femininity,” el-Kak said.

A day after Elissa’s video hit the internet, in neighbouring Syria, First Lady Asma al-Assad, 42, also said she had started treatment for early stage breast cancer.

A photo published by Syrian state media showed her hooked up to a drip smiling and sitting next to her husband President Bashar al-Assad.

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