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Luther Vandross

Luther Vandross was one of the most successful R&B vocalists of the late 20th century, famous for his lush voice, soulful and romantic ballads, and his many collaborations with such stars as Dionne Warwick, Whitney Houston and Janet Jackson. Luther Vandross got his big break in the 1970s, as a back-up singer and then session musician and producer with the likes of David Bowie, Bette Midler and Barbra Streisand. His debut solo album, Never Too Much (1981), was the first of many successes, and during the 1980s and "90s he was the dominant male vocalist on the R&B charts, with hits that included the duets "How Many Times Can We Say Goodbye" (1983,with Warwick) and "Endless Love" (1994, with Mariah Carey). Vandross was a big man, and his struggles with his weight were well-known to his fans; later in life he also had diabetes. On April 16, 2003, Luther Vandross suffered a stroke and lapsed into a coma; he had recently completed the album Dance With My Father, which included collaborations with Queen Latifah, Beyoncé Knowles, Foxy Brown and Busta Rhymes. Vandross came out of the coma in June and the album went on to win four Grammys in 2004. Vandross died the next year.

Extra Credit

Luther Vandross sold 25 million albums during his lifetime, according to his 2005 obituary in The Independent.

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