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Aretha Franklin's former publicist says it's difficult to hear about her condition

Posted: 8:06 AM, Aug 16, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-16 13:06:06Z

Clarence Waldron, Aretha Franklin's former publicist, says he is grappling with the singer's health crisis.

"I have been pushing myself, denying myself of the chance to grieve," he told CNN affiliate WDIV-TV in Detroit. "It's very sad and I know it's inevitable and it'll hit me later on, but it's very difficult to hear that."

The 76-year-old "Queen of Soul" is currently under hospice care for an undisclosed illness.

A source close to Franklin told CNN's Don Lemon that the singer is being visited by people close to her who are reading messages from friends and loved ones and holding her hand.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson visited Franklin on Wednesday, said Rainbow Push spokeswoman Chinta Strausberg.

Waldron, who worked for the singer from 2014 to 2016, told the Detroit television station he's maintained a friendship with her.

He said there were times when Franklin would have to cancel appearances for health reasons and on doctor's orders.

"We would simply say we are not doing any interviews at this time," Waldron said Wednesday. "She's going to be home resting, and that is all. There's no more to say than that."

He said he never inquired as to what was wrong with Franklin.

"Nope! Nope! Nope! I never inquired. I never inquired at all," Waldron told WDIV. "I felt that she -- she's a grown woman. She'll say what she wants me to know and what she wants the world to know."

The publicist said he was worried when Franklin was too sick to attend her December 2017 Christmas party.

On Wednesday, more than 100 people reportedly gathered for a prayer vigil at Detroit's New Bethel Baptist Church, which was founded by Franklin's father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin.

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