Madonna removes Luther Vandross' memorial from her AIDS tribute at request from singer's estate as he died from a stroke

Madonna removes Luther Vandross' memorial from her AIDS tribute at request from singer's estate as he died from a stroke
Madonna removes Luther Vandross' memorial from her AIDS tribute after request from his estate (@madonna/Instagram, Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Madonna has reportedly removed Luther Vandross’ picture from the AIDS tribute section of her Celebrations Tour after the American soul and R&B singer’s estate requested the removal.

Recently, it has been reported by Page Six that Vandross’ estate reached out to the Queen of Pop after his picture appeared on the Sacramento concert of her Celebrations Tour.


 
 
 
 
 
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 Madonna remembers fellow artists who lost their lives to AIDS

Throughout her latest concert tour, Madonna has been remembering her fellow artists who lost their lives to AIDS. 

The Queen of Pop has been paying tributes to stars like Herb Ritts, Freddie Mercury, Keith Haring and Sylvester during a set when she performs her 1986 song ‘Live to Tell’.

However, recently during the Sacramento concert on Saturday, February 24, Luther Vandross’ picture also appeared in the tribute, which reportedly surprised his fans.

A representative from Vandross’ estate shared in a statement to the news outlet that “Luther Vandross passed away in 2005 due to complications from a stroke suffered two years earlier.”

Tribute to Luther Vandross along with a tribute to Freddie Mercury (Instagram/@skymax.music.travel.style)
Tribute to Luther Vandross along with a tribute to Freddie Mercury (Instagram/@skymax.music.travel.style)

They added, “While we appreciate Madonna’s recognition of those lives lost to AIDS, Luther was NEVER diagnosed with AIDS or the HIV Virus.”

The representative for the estate added, “We’re not sure where she or her production team received false medical information claiming otherwise. We’re currently in contact with her management to remove Luther Vandross from the tribute.”

Singer Luther Vandross attends the Sean John Fall 2001 collection show February 10, 2001 on the third day of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week 2001 at Bryant Park in New York City.
Singer Luther Vandross died in 2005 (Getty Images)

Following the request from Vandross’ representative, Madonna’s camp has revealed that they have removed the picture.

The surprise inclusion of the image was not overlooked by the author and editor of ‘Encyclopedia Madonnica’, Matthew Rettenmund either.

He shared a screenshot from a Madonna fan’s Instagram wall where the Luther Vandross memorial could be seen.


 
 
 
 
 
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Rettenmund pointed out the issue as he wrote, “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 continued to bring to notice the inclusion of Vandross’ name and image, and said, “But sharp-eyed observers also noticed Luther Vandross was suddenly added.”

He added thoughtfully, “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.”

“Not sure why he was added belatedly,” wondered the author and remarked, “but it is an interesting choice.”

He concluded the post by saying, “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.)”

Madonna's heartfelt tribute to the stars who died because of AIDS

In December 2023, Madonna posted a heartfelt tribute to the fallen stars on the occasion of World AIDS Day. She penned a long note to remember the stars and shared it with a montage of images.

Madonna wrote, "I was going to post this yesterday on World Aid’s Day But I woke up feeling so overwhelmed with sadness that words felt meaningless," and continued, "It’s hard to explain the sense of loss and confusion And despair for so many people."


 
 
 
 
 
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The Queen of Pop explained, "Because my show is a retrospective of my Journey of the last 4 decades -Told through music, How could I not recognize This incredibly important moment, not only in my life but in so many others." Madonna has been remembering her fellow artists who lost their lives to AIDS

The 'Material Girl' songstress added, "AIDS came through like a brushfire. Like a freight train," and wrote about the "merciless" nature of AIDS, noting, "It was unexpected and merciless. It destroyed all the beautiful people. An entire generation of artists was wiped out. Turned to ash."

She concluded by saying poignantly, "In Loving Memory…………….,Gone but not forgotten. ♥️."

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