Friends and fans of Aretha Franklin offered prayers and good wishes after learning that the Queen of Soul, one of Detroit's beloved musical artists, is suffering from pancreatic cancer.

Sources familiar with the singer's ailment told The Detroit News today that she was diagnosed with the often lethal form of cancer. Experts, however, say it can be beaten if detected early enough.

Franklin has been quiet about the nature of the illness that prompted her to cancel all upcoming events, including Thursday's planned Christmas concert at the Fox Theatre. She did acknowledge last week that she'd successfully undergone a surgical procedure.

I went through a period in the '80s when I was pretty much obsessed with Franklin and her music, and I'm grateful for the night in 1989 when I skedaddled to Radio City Music Hall at the last minute to get a back-row seat to watch her perform, mindful that she didn't fly and her concerts were pretty rare. All of us are praying for a recovery despite the long odds.

"Think" has always been my favorite Aretha Franklin song -- must be the part about freedom: