Vandross contracts pneumonia after stroke - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

Vandross contracts pneumonia after stroke

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Posted: Tuesday, April 29, 2003 10:27 am | Updated: 2:26 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

NEW YORK - Luther Vandross contracted pneumonia after suffering a stroke and had to undergo a tracheotomy to help him breathe, but the procedure didn't damage his vocal chords, his representatives said Monday.

The Grammy-winning singer remains in critical but stable condition, and spokeswoman Lois Najarian told The Associated Press: "We expected him to be out of intensive care right now."

His business manager, Carmen Romano, released a statement Monday confirming that Vandross suffered pneumonia during his hospitalization and had to have a tracheotomy, a procedure in which a hole is made in the throat and a tube is inserted to assist breathing.

"The tracheotomy was performed in a manner in which his vocal chords were not affected or damaged," Romano said.

Najarian said it was unclear whether the tube had been removed.

Vandross, 52, had a stroke April 16 at his Manhattan home; he was alone for hours before being discovered, Najarian said. He's been hospitalized at Weill-Cornell Medical College.

Romano also said Vandross is minimally responsive neurologically "and we're waiting for him to regain full consciousness. I am told that this may take some time."

Najarian said Vandross hadn't opened his eyes or spoken since his stroke and "he's had to fight off quite a few infections."

"There was a real feeling that he would have regained consciousness by now," she said.

Najarian said doctors haven't been able to determine whether Vandross suffered any permanent neurological damage from the stroke, such as paralysis.

As for his prognosis, she said: "I think it's a day-to-day analysis of the situation; no one really knows what to expect."

Vandross has sold more than 20 million albums in the United States alone, and his hits include the love ballads "Here and Now" and "A House Is Not a Home."

His new album, "Dance With My Father," is scheduled for release in June.

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