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Tyler Perry Denies He'll Kill Madea

03/04/2009 at 03:45 PM EST

Tyler Perry Denies He'll Kill Madea
Tyler Perry and Madea
Bennett Raglin/WireImage; Quantrell Colbert
Fans of Madea, rest easy: No way will director-creator and star Tyler Perry kill her off.

Perry, who recently told PEOPLE he looks forward to escaping to his own private island when he turns 40 in September, has announced on his Web site about his other future plans – involving Madea,

"I have been saying for years that the moment people stop coming to see her she will die a quick death," he writes. "For years I've said this. Now, all of a sudden, it's everywhere that I'm killing her off. That's strange to me."

Only it doesn't appear the public is tiring of the character Perry first introduced in his 2000 play I Can Do Bad All By Myself. Her latest incarnation, the big-screen Madea Goes to Jail, is topping the box-office chart – grossing more than $65 million in its first 11 days.

Among Madea's fans, writes Perry: Aretha Franklin. "I got a letter from The Queen of Soul herself saying (and this made me laugh so hard) 'There are two things that have brought you over. One is Jesus, and the other is 'Madea.' And you bet' not get rid of either one of them!' " Perry quotes Franklin as saying.

Coming up for Perry this May will be the new Star Trek, in which he costars with Chris Pine, as head of Starfleet Academy.

And on the farther horizon is a new Madea film, I Can Do Bad All By Myself, "for all die-hard Madea fans, including you Ms. Aretha Franklin," Perry writes. He'll also direct Why Did I Get Married Too – and, then, "Madea will be taking a break for awhile. Not dead. Just a break (smile)."

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