The soul balladeer's strong commitment to the art of music continued on its Grammy-winning course, even after an acute stroke in left him severely incapacitated and unable to continue public appearances. Luther Ronzoni Vandross was born in New York in , the baby of four children. His father, also named Luther, was an upholsterer who died of diabetes when the singer was just 8. Despite this sadness, his mother, a practical nurse, made sure that music was prevalent in the Vandross household, particularly gospel, soul and doo-wop. Luther was influenced by his older sister Patricia, who became a member of a doo-wop group called The Crests , and scored with "16 Candles", a hit. In high school, Luther formed his own musical group and first started to write and compose. He also sang in the film's choir selections. After performing with a short-lived singing group called "Luther", which was formed to include the talented musicians Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards , who later formed the group, Chic , Luther returned to the background and took part in various projects for Quincy Jones and others.
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