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Last Updated: Friday, 7 May, 2004, 12:10 GMT 13:10 UK
Singer Vandross vows to carry on
Luther Vandross with Oprah Winfrey
Vandross told Winfrey he would be "singing at 80"
Singer Luther Vandross has spoken of his plans to continue recording in his first interview since having a stroke.

Speaking to US chat show host Oprah Winfrey, he also told of his regrets at putting himself at risk, and his feelings as he recovered his health.

"I was very depressed," the 52-year-old Grammy-winning soul singer said, a year after he went into a coma with an illness linked to his diabetes.

Asked if he planned to carry on, he replied: "Yeah. I'll be singing at 80."

Vandross was interviewed at a rehabilitation centre on the US east coast, where viewers learned about his days spent in intensive physical and vocal therapy sessions.

Luther Vandross
Vandross swept the board at this year's Grammys
Winfrey detailed how it was painful for him to move around, and how his therapy sessions often left him exhausted.

Asked whether he was angry about his illness, he said: "I was fit to be tied. It was a chore, coming back from the stroke. I was very depressed."

Blaming himself for his illness, he added: "It was something that I did, and I wish I hadn't."

He said he had been in denial about his diabetes, which had caused the deaths of his father, brother and sister.


"It's a very nifty, crafty disease. It seems like a soft disease at first. It's anything but. It's anything except that. What it does is it incapacitates you."

His mother, Mary, told how she refused to let him die and spent many nights in hospital talking to and praying for him.

"Had you seen him the first time, you would not have held out very much hope," she said. "He was totally out of everything."

Vandross, famous for hits such as Power of Love and Your Love is All I Need, won song of the year at this year's Grammy awards for Dance With My Father.

Despite being too ill to attend, he cleaned up with four awards including best male R&B vocal performance and best R&B album.

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