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Madonna Removes Luther Vandross From AIDS Tribute at Behest of His Estate

Madonna has removed Luther Vandross’s picture from the AIDs tribute portion of her “Celebrations” tour at the request of his estate.

via: EW

During her tour, the singer has paid tribute to famous stars who have died of AIDS with a touching photo montage set to her performance of “Live to Tell.” According to Page Six, who first reported the news, Luther Vandross’ image was suddenly included on Saturday during this montage at a tour stop in Sacramento, Calif, which apparently came as a surprise to the late singer-songwriter’s estate.

“Luther Vandross passed away in 2005 due to complications from a stroke suffered two years earlier,” a rep for his estate told the outlet.

Their statement continued, “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.”

Vandross’ estate said it contacted Madonna’s management to get the image removed, and her reps have confirmed to EW that it has since been taken out. An EW request for comment from Vandross’ estate was not immediately returned on Monday.

Madonna’s Celebration tour launched in October 2023, and features a setlist that spans more than four decades and serves as a showcase of the superstar’s career. The tour continues now through April 26.

As someone who was actually at her concert (and is not going by hearsay), I don't recall seeing Luther Vandross as part of her AIDS tribute. Maybe people are confusing Sylvester (who is featured in the tribute, and did die of AIDS) with Luther.

Then again if she did include him, I'm glad she removed it. However maybe Luther's team also doesn't want people to know his true diagnosis, since it's public knowledge that he passed from a stroke. Luther was deep in the closet, and if he wasn't open about his sexuality what makes you think his estate would reveal his HIV status?

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