Vandross Minimally Responsive

Singer yet to regain full consciousness after stroke

April 29, 2003 12:00 AM ET

Grammy-winning singer Luther Vandross is neurologically "minimally responsive" almost two weeks after suffering a stroke at his Manhattan home. He hasn't opened his eyes or spoken since the April 16th stroke, according to his representatives, and it may be "some time" before he does.

His J Records spokeswoman said his recovery isn't progressing as well or as quickly as doctors hoped, and it's still too early to tell if Vandross has suffered permanent damage. Numerous infections have slowed the process -- including a bout of pneumonia he contracted during his hospital stay, forcing doctors to insert a tube through his throat to assist breathing. The procedure was done in a way that didn't damage Vandross' vocal chords.

For now, Vandross remains in critical but stable condition in the Intensive Care Unit of Weill-Cornell Medical College in New York. His representatives say it's hard to know what the prognosis is, calling the outlook "day-to-day."

Vandross is scheduled to release a new album, Dance With My Father, June 10th on J Records. He made his debut in 1981 with Never Too Much and went on to become that decade's biggest soul star, scoring five million-selling records in a row and influencing the likes of Mariah Carey, Babyface and Alicia Keys.

"I just want him to wake up and smile that smile," Keys said. "So many things show us how fragile we are, how delicate life is. My prayers go out to him and his family."

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