Luther Vandross removed from Madonna’s AIDS tribute

The "Never Too Much" singer was featured in a montage during Madonna's current "Celebration" tour.

Luther Vandross has been removed from the AIDS tribute sequence in her current “Celebration” tour. The “Like a Prayer” singer made the change at the request of the Vandross estate, per Page Six.

Luther Vandross in Las Vegas
Singer Luther Vandross performs at the Mandalay Bay Resort on Sept. 20, 2002, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Scott Harrison/Getty Images) Credit: Photo byScott Harrison / Getty Images

Madonna’s ongoing “Celebration” tour is currently bringing the “Express Yourself” singer all over the world, looking back at her decades-long career. In one section of the tour, the singer pays tribute to those who have lost their lives to AIDS, with stars like Freddie Mercury, Keith Haring and Sylvester appearing in photos on the screen as she sings her song “Live to Tell.” Over the weekend, Vandross’ image was “suddenly included” in the montage, leading the estate to request its removal.

“Luther Vandross passed away in 2005 due to complications from a stroke suffered two years earlier,” a rep of the estate shared in a statement to the outlet. “While we appreciate Madonna’s recognition of those lives lost to AIDS, Luther was NEVER diagnosed with AIDS or the HIV Virus. We’re not sure where she or her production team received false medical information claiming otherwise.”

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Madonna has since removed the image from the show, her representatives confirmed to Page Six.

As theGrio previously reported, Vandross is having a bit of a cultural resurgence this year, with reissues of his various albums hitting shelves as well as a well-received documentary, “Luther: Never Too Much,” that premiered at Sundance this January. The documentary from Dawn Porter is an in-depth dive into the artistry of the Grammy Award-winning R&B icon, tracing his ascent to stardom in the 1980s.

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