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Aretha Franklin: I Never Had Pancreatic Cancer

Queen of Soul says President Obama wrote her a letter while she was sick

January 14, 2011 1:35 PM ET
Aretha Franklin: I Never Had Pancreatic Cancer
Jemal Countess/WireImage

Aretha Franklin is on the mend and she's setting the record straight about her December health scare. Sort of.

Though the Queen of Soul declines to get into the specifics of the problem, she wants to make one thing clear: "I don’t know where 'pancreatic cancer' came from," the Grammy winner, 68, told Access Hollywood in a Thursday interview. "I was sitting there reading the newspaper and it was saying someone in my family said that. No one in my family ever said that to anybody."

PHOTOS: See which stars have battled cancer

What she will reveal, however, is that she sought treatment after experiencing a pain in her side that "was so hard it almost brought me to my knees."

And following a successful procedure, Franklin is back and better than ever.

"[My doctor] said, 'The surgery that you just had is going to add 15 to 20 more years to your life," she said, adding that she's slimmed "down to a rockin' [size] 16-18. It’s getting better every day. I plan on keeping this weight that I have now -- I’m so happy with it."

PHOTOS: Check out these celebrity weight winners

The singer is also thrilled with the level of R-E-S-P-E-C-T she received from fans during her recovery -- including President Barack Obama.

PHOTOS: Aretha and other celebs at President Obama's inauguration

"I got a wonderful and beautiful letter from the President," she said. "And nobody does it like him!"

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Song Stories

“Whoomp! (There It Is)”

Tag Team | 1993

Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

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