Madonna's condition in hospital was so serious following her reported collapse from a bacterial infection that relatives were "preparing for the worst".
The 64-year-old pop legend was discovered lying unconscious at her New York home on Saturday and was taken to hospital and immediately admitted to the intensive care unit.
Her manager Guy Oseary broke his silence on Wednesday to say the Like A Prayer singer was diagnosed with a "serious bacterial infection" and would be postponing her tour which was due to start next month.
"Her health is improving, however she is still under medical care," he said.
A family member told the Daily Mail on Thursday that the global superstar's condition was so bad that they didn't know which direction her health "was going to turn".
"Everyone believed that we may lose her and that has been the reality of the situation," the paper quoted.
The family member said the seriousness of her condition was the reason the incident was kept under wraps since Saturday, and it was only as things were improving they felt comfortable sharing the news.
"For the past couple of days, no one really knew which direction this was going to turn," they said, adding, "and her family was preparing for the worst."
The New York Post reported that Madonna's eldest daughter, Lourdes Leon, 26, has been by her side throughout her stay, keeping a watchful eye over her music mogul mum.
Madonna is also mother to a further five children – Rocco, 22, David, 17, Mercy, 17 and her 10-year-old twine Estere and Stella.
Rocco Ritchie, her son with ex-husband film producer Guy Ritchie, hasn't addressed his mum's health publicly yet. On Monday he posted a photo to his Instagram page of a stunning Transylvanian landscape in Romania where he's been riding motorbikes.
Madonnna is known to be close to all her family, including her three sisters and four brothers. One of her brothers, Anthony, died in February of complications linked to his throat cancer.
Madonna's eagle-eyed fans will likely have been missing the Material Girl hitmaker's regular social media postings, with the star last posting a photo on her Instagram over a week ago. Just days before her collapse she took to her platform to reveal a new shaggy haircut, the latest in a very long line of the star's dramatic transformations.
This year was set to be a busy one for the singer, who just days before she fell ill was sharing glimpses of her tour rehearsals, captioning a set of behind-the-scenes shots, "The calm before the storm".
Her Celebration tour was set to mark her 40th anniversary of her rise to the Queen of Pop, but has now been "paused", her manager said, following her admission to hospital.
"At this time we will need to pause all commitments, which includes the tour," he said. "We will share details with soon as we have them, including a s new start date for the tour and for rescheduled shows."
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