Aretha Franklin is to be discharged from hospital this weekend after treatment for pancreatic cancer.

The legendary singer has been told she is "doing better than doctors expected" and has vowed to start touring again next spring.

The 68-year-old star was reportedly told she had less than a year to live after being diagnosed with the disease, which has a survival rate of just five to 10 per cent.

But her cousin Brenda Corbett has dismissed the claims, telling the Detroit Free Press newspaper: "Aretha is doing better than doctors expected. She has a long life in front of her and will be back in concert, on stage, late spring or early summer."

The 'Respect'singer's sister-in-law Earline Franklin added: "Aretha is doing absolutely wonderful. All the prayers and well wishes have supported her, and she's doing well."

Last month, Aretha cancelled all her scheduled concerts until May for "medical reasons".

Until late October she had been recording and touring, but last week released a statement saying she had undergone "highly successful" surgery but didn't disclose it was for cancer until this week.

She is now said to be looking forward to getting back on the road.

Aretha was born in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1942 and grew up in Michigan where she started singing in her local church as a young girl.

The soul legend - whose hits include 'I Say A Little Prayer', 'Think'and 'Sisters Are Doin'It for Themselves'- has won 20 Grammy Awards and had 20 number one hits in the Billboard top 100 music chart.