Luther Vandross Passes

R&B crooner Luther

Vandross passed away today (July 1), due to complications brought on by a stroke the singer

suffered in 2003.

The singer suffered a serious stroke in April of 2003, shortly

before his fifteenth album, Dance With My Father hit stores.

Vandross, born April 20, 1951, sold over 25 million records

and influenced a whole generation of singers.

During the period following his stroke, Vandross, 54, lapsed

into a coma for roughly six weeks. He started to show signs of recovery, with

his condition improving slightly.

Vandross was checked out of New York's Weill Cornell Medical

Center and moved into a private facility in New Jersey.

His final studio album, Dance With My Father, hit stores

in June of 2003 while Vandross was hospitalized.

Dance With My Father expanded beyond Vandross’

traditional R&B fare, featuring performances with such rappers a Queen Latifah,

Busta Rhymes and Foxy Brown.

Perhaps his best known collaboration with hip-hop artists came

unwittingly, when Kanye West sample Vandross' song "A House Is Not a Home"

for Twista's massive hit, "Slow Jamz," which also name checks Vandross.

A tribute album for Vandross had already been in the works as

well. The album is being coordinated by Clive Davis, former head of Arista and

current head of J Records.

The new album is

being produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and features new interpretations

of Vandross' classics by Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Fantasia, Wyclef Jean

and others.