Friends Gather to Say Farewell to Vandross
July 7, 2005

Late singer Luther Vandross received an all-star tribute Thursday as hundreds of friends, family and fans lined up in front of a New York funeral home to shower their love on the great star.

And as Vandross was laid to rest, his famous friends shared their memories of the legend with "Extra."

Patti LaBelle, a very close friend of Vandross, got out of her car and mingled with the crowd at the funeral. She told "Extra" she had a very strange reaction when she went inside and saw her friend's body. "He looks like he's alive," she admitted. "He's in a beautiful rest mode. He doesn't look like he's gone."

Vandross sold more than 25 million records during his incredibly successful career, with big hits such as "Here and Now." And at the Essence Music Awards, Destiny's Child's Beyoncé shared how she'll remember the great star: "He's always been a legend and classy and a perfectionist. We've learned so much from him."

Lionel Richie told us that Luther always left him in awe. "He had so much confidence," Richie recalled. "So smooth, so wonderful, and I can't even imagine we've lost him in the flesh."

Vandross' health problems began two years ago when he suffered a stroke. LaBelle last saw him three months ago and says he was in good spirits, joking and pulling pranks.

But it's the Luther in his prime that LaBelle wishes to remember. "There will never be a voice like him, ever," she insisted. "They'll never be a spirit like him, ever."

Luther Vandross was 54.

 


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