In recent days, news of Aretha Franklin's reportedly 'gravely ill' condition has been doing the rounds, but now an official update has been given by a family member.

While reports suggested that the soul legend was fighting for her life and her friends and family had gathered at her bedside, her nephew Tim Franklin told People magazine that the 76-year-old was 'alert' and 'laughing'.

"She's alert, laughing, teasing, able to recognise people," he said. "Family is there with her, I saw her a week ago Friday and we talked for about 45 minutes to an hour. My brother was there on Saturday and she was alert, talking, laughing, joking. She’s watching TV, so god forbid she sees all of this ‘Aretha’s dead,’ so I don’t want to dampen her spirits on that.”

He added that although she was sick, the family is "trying to keep her spirits up and go from there. We believe she’ll pull through it, she believes she’ll pull through it," he said. "And that’s the important thing,”

A number of musicians and celebrities had sent their 'thoughts and prayers' to Franklin after news of her illness broke on Monday, including Mariah Carey, Chaka Khan, Missy Elliot and even former US president Bill Clinton - while Beyonce and Jay Z dedicated their performance in Detroit to the ailing legend.