Aretha Franklin is surrounded by her loved ones and resting at home, a member of the iconic singer’s family tells PEOPLE.
“She’s alert, laughing, teasing, able to recognize people,” Franklin’s nephew Tim Franklin tells PEOPLE following the news of the 76-year-old star’s illness Monday.
“Family is there with her,” he said. “She’s home.”
“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,” Tim continued. “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.”
A friend of the artist has confirmed to PEOPLE that the singer has “been ill for a long time” and her loved ones have been warned her “death is imminent.”
However, her family is choosing to remain hopeful. Tim tells PEOPLE that while the singer “is sick,” her 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, and that’s the important thing,” he added.