Lloyd Bishop/NBCAretha Franklin has canceled a planned appearance at Major League Baseball's Beacon Awards Luncheon this Saturday in Chicago, citing ongoing health issues. The ***** of Soul was to have been presented the 2013 MLB Beacon of Change award at the ceremony in recognition of the positive impact she and her music have had on the civil rights movement.
"I greatly appreciate being a Beacon Award recipient," the 71-year-old singer says in a statement. "Presently, I am unable to travel as I continue my treatment. I am working towards a full recovery."
The Beacon Awards Luncheon is held annually in conjunction with Major League Baseball's Civil Rights Game, which this year will be played Saturday at Chicago's U.S. Cellular Field. Franklin was to have been toasted at a special ceremony at the game, as well as at the luncheon, but now plans will be made to pay tribute to the music legend at a future date.
"It is unfortunate that Aretha Franklin will not be able to attend the MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon, but Major League Baseball wishes her the best throughout her treatment," says MLB executive and Baseball Hall of Famer Frank Robinson. "She is a legendary talent who, for generations, has provided a platform to bring societal issues to light through her music."
Aretha's unspecified health problems have forced her to cancel a variety of engagements over the last few months. Most recently, she pulled out of a July 27 concert at DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkson, Michigan, that already had been pushed back from its original June 22 date.
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