Detroit, Aug. 16 -- Regardless of her reputation as a performer, Aretha Franklin's cancer doctors say she was no diva as a patient.

As the anniversary of her death approaches, two of her doctors tell The Associated Press that the Queen of Soul handled the diagnosis and treatment with grace - and the grit to keep performing for years with a rare type of cancer.

"As a person, she was extremely kind, she was respectful, she was funny - she treated people like me and my team members as her friends," said Dr. Manisha Shah of Ohio State University. "There is no phone call that would end without her asking about us. Most of the time she would ask about us first. ... It's because who she was: She was really down-to-earth."

Franklin, who died i...