Major League Baseball announced on Monday that legendary singer Aretha Franklin, a 2013 MLB Beacon of Change honoree, will not be able to accept her award at the Beacon Awards Luncheon in Chicago on Saturday due to health reasons.
"I greatly appreciate being a Beacon Award recipient. Presently, I am unable to travel as I continue my treatment. I am working towards a full recovery," Franklin, 71, said in a statement. "Many thanks to Frank Robinson; we go back a long way to my early years in Baltimore. I thank him and Major League Baseball for the recognition, and I look forward to receiving this most prestigious honor."
Plans for Franklin's honor at the MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon will be announced at a later date, MLB said in a statement.
The White Sox will host the Civil Rights Game on Saturday at U.S. Cellular Field. The game itself will be preceded by a roundtable discussion at 12:30 p.m. CT on Friday at the Chicago Cultural Center, featuring White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams and moderator Harold Reynolds, and the Beacon Awards Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. CT on Saturday at the Downtown Chicago Marriott Magnificent Mile. Tickets for Saturday's luncheon -- featuring Commissioner Bud Selig, Beacon Award winner Bo Jackson, Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, White Sox great Minnie Minoso, Cubs great Ferguson Jenkins and keynote speaker Michael Wilbon -- can be purchased at whitesox.com.
"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," said Robinson, executive vice president of baseball development for Major League Baseball, in a statement. "She is a legendary talent who, for generations, has provided a platform to bring societal issues to light through her music. We commend her for using her fame to encourage positive change throughout the civil rights movement and beyond, and we look forward to honoring her with the 2013 MLB Beacon of Change Award."
Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry.