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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 May, 2003, 09:56 GMT 10:56 UK
Soul legend leads Vandross vigil
Aretha Franklin
Franklin is a longtime friend of Vandross
Fans of soul singer Luther Vandross held a candlelight vigil for him in Detroit on Monday as the star continued to lie in a coma following a stroke.

Soul legend Aretha Franklin, a friend of Vandross, organised the vigil at the Little Rock Baptist Church.

"I felt he needed prayer, and he needed it now," said Franklin, who sang Amazing Grace in front of the crowd of 5,000 people.

Vandross was found in his New York apartment five weeks ago having suffered a stroke. He has not regained consciousness, and has also been battling pneumonia in hospital.

The Four Tops, Ortheia Barns, Franklin's sons Kecalf and Eddie, Ursula Walker and Buddy Budson also took part in the program.

Vandross' mother Mary has been playing songs from Franklin and Dionne Warwick and the singer's own songs as he lies in hospital in New York.

Vandross, 52, has played with and written songs for Franklin, as well as designing some of the dresses the 61-year-old Franklin will wear on her forthcoming tour.

Luther Vandross
Vandross has battled with weight problems in the past

Vandross' health was said to be good just before the stroke, though he has battled hypertension, diabetes and weight problems. He was weighed up to 300 pounds.

Since having the stroke, Vandross has had a tracheotomy throat operation to fight off the pneumonia contracted in hospital.

Vandross has sold more than 20 million records during his career and won four Grammy awards in the 1990s.


SEE ALSO:
Vandross 'improving daily'
13 May 03  |  Entertainment
Vandross 'remains critically ill'
09 May 03  |  Entertainment
Vandross has throat operation
29 Apr 03  |  Entertainment
Vandross shows signs of recovery
24 Apr 03  |  Entertainment
R&B star's climb to success
18 Apr 03  |  Entertainment


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