Madonna honors Luther Vandross in AIDS tribute, removes image at estate’s request following his passing from a stroke.

Madonna honors Luther Vandross in AIDS tribute, removes image at estate’s request following his passing from a stroke.

  • An image of Vandross was shown next to Queen singer Freddie Mercury during Madonna’s Sacramento tour stop on Saturday 
  • After word of the image surfaced, the late singer his estate reached out to Madonna, who had the image quietly removed
  • Vandross’ estate clarified that the singer – who passed away in 2005 at 54, from complications of a 2003 stroke – was never diagnosed with AIDS or the HIV virus

Madonna had been paying tribute to artists who have passed away from AIDS during her Celebrations tour, but a recent performance included a surprising inclusion: Luther Vandross.

An image of Vandross was shown next to Queen singer Freddie Mercury during Madonna’s Sacramento tour stop on Saturday.

After word of the image surfaced, the late singer – who passed away in 2005 at 54, from complications of a 2003 stroke – his estate reached out to Madonna, who had the image quietly removed.

Vandross’ estate clarified that the singer was never diagnosed with AIDS or the HIV virus in a statement. 

‘Luther Vandross passed away in 2005 due to complications from a stroke suffered two years earlier,’ the estate told Page Six in a statement.

Madonna had been paying tribute to artists who have passed away from AIDS during her Celebrations tour, but a recent performance included a surprising inclusion: Luther Vandross

Madonna had been paying tribute to artists who have passed away from AIDS during her Celebrations tour, but a recent performance included a surprising inclusion: Luther Vandross

Vandross' estate clarified that the singer was never diagnosed with AIDS or the HIV virus in a statement

Vandross’ estate clarified that the singer was never diagnosed with AIDS or the HIV virus in a statement

‘While we appreciate Madonna’s recognition of those lives lost to AIDS, Luther was NEVER diagnosed with AIDS or the HIV Virus,’ the statement continued.

‘We’re not sure where she or her production team received false medical information claiming otherwise,’ the statement added.

‘We’re currently in contact with her management to remove Luther Vandross from the tribute,’ the statement concluded, with the report adding that Madonna did remove the image from the tribute.

The news of Vandross’ image being added to the tribute surfaced from an Instagram user named Kevin James Smith, who has been following Madonna on tour.

He had showed a photo of his friend Tommy, who also died of AIDS, during the Seattle show, and he was able to get the photo included in the tribute for the Saturday show in Sacramento.

He posted a video of the tribute, which showed Vandross pictured next to Queen’s Freddie Mercury.

That post was noticed by Encyclopedia Madonnica author Matthew Rettenmund, who posted the image on his Instagram.

‘An interesting development at Madonna’s Sacramento “Celebration Tour” show Saturday night. Kevin (skymax.music.travel.style) was able to get his late friend Tommy added to the “Live to Tell” AIDS Memorial wall, which is so wonderful,’ he began. 

That post was noticed by Encyclopedia Madonnica author Matthew Rettenmund, who posted the image on his Instagram

That post was noticed by Encyclopedia Madonnica author Matthew Rettenmund, who posted the image on his Instagram

'While we appreciate Madonna¿s recognition of those lives lost to AIDS, Luther was NEVER diagnosed with AIDS or the HIV Virus,' the statement continued

‘While we appreciate Madonna’s recognition of those lives lost to AIDS, Luther was NEVER diagnosed with AIDS or the HIV Virus,’ the statement continued

'We¿re currently in contact with her management to remove Luther Vandross from the tribute,' the statement concluded, with the report adding that Madonna did remove the image from the tribute

‘We’re currently in contact with her management to remove Luther Vandross from the tribute,’ the statement concluded, with the report adding that Madonna did remove the image from the tribute

Vandross never publicly came out as gay, though after his death in 2005, friends such a Bruce Villanch and Patti LaBelle confirmed he was gay.

Vandross never publicly came out as gay, though after his death in 2005, friends such a Bruce Villanch and Patti LaBelle confirmed he was gay.

‘But sharp-eyed observers also noticed Luther Vandross was suddenly added. Though gay (and closeted to the end), and though Vandross was rumored to have lost weight due to AIDS-related illness, his 2005 death has never been attributed to AIDS complications,’ Rettenmund added. 

‘Not sure why he was added belatedly, but it is an interesting choice. I know a LOT of closeted men attempted to hide their diagnoses even in death (Robert Reed tried, but his death certificate noted AIDS; Liberace — who isn’t on the “Live to Tell” wall — asserted he’d lost weight on a watermelon diet),’ he added.

Vandross never publicly came out as gay, though after his death in 2005, friends such a Bruce Villanch and Patti LaBelle confirmed he was gay.

The singer also filed a libel lawsuit against a British magazine after it claimed that his 85-pound weight loss was due to AIDS. 

Comments

No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *