Soon after music icon, Luther Vandross, passed away in 2005, his beloved mother, Mary Ida Vandross, was gracious and brave enough to speak out. She allowed the public into the last moments of their heartbreaking lows and highs during her son, Luther’s -whom she affectionately nicknamed “Ronnie”- last days.
As we previously reported, Mrs. Ida lost her all four of her children, with Luther being the last one. Her husband, Luther Sr., died when Luther Jr. was 8 years old, causing Mary to raise their four children on her own. In prior interviews with People Magazine and Entertainment Weekly, Mary Ida thoroughly detailed what her last child, Luther, did from the moment he suffered the stroke that sparked his 2-year health decline, to his last words to her shortly before his final breathe.
“God had some connections with my son”
Mary Ida Vandross: “I feel sincerely that God had some connections with my son. The winter before he had the stroke, I noticed that he was putting things in order. Too much in order.”
“He Called Me One Day And Said…”
“I was living in Connecticut, in a 10-room house, and he called me one day and said, ‘Momma, I don’t like you being up here by yourself. I want you to think about moving to Philadelphia.’”
“I Just Feel Like He Was Telling Me Something”
MV: “I started laughing, and he had the best laugh, and I said, ‘I like Philadelphia to visit. I don’t know how I’d like to live there.’ But he said, ‘Think about it. You’re here by yourself, and you don’t need to be by yourself.’ I just feel like he was telling me something.”
Mary Ida Vandross’ Intuition About Her Son Was Correct
Mary took her son’s advice and relocated to Philly to be near Luther and family. Shortly afterwards, Luther’s housekeeper found him collapsed from a stroke, on his Manhattan condo floor on April 16, 2003. A blood vessel at the base of his brain had burst.
Mom Blames Luther’s Weight Struggle & Eating Habits
Luther suffered from diabetes and hypertension, but Mary blamed weight fluctuations for his severe health decline.
”I knew how hard he was struggling not to gain the weight,” she said. ”And yet he would eat uncontrollably.”
Luther Spent 2 More Years In Extreme Health Crisis
Luther was hospitalized in a stroke-induced coma for the next two months, eventually having “moments” of alertness, shaking his head ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ He was then moved to a rehab facility for 1 year and vastly improved, sometimes joking with loved ones, but…
Suddenly Progress Halted & Here’s What Mom Said He Did In Last Days
“I Had A Premonition”
MV: “For two years I went every Sunday and any other day that I could get there. The Sunday before he passed, I had a premonition that I was losing him. That was the saddest moment of my life. Here I am with one child left out of four, and to see him drifting away.”
Mary Vandross Took Action
“I told the nurse, ‘Please get him up. I want him to have dinner with me.’ So we got him up and he had watermelon and corn bread—his favorite food—and he was talking” normally that day.
The Request From His Mom That Luther Sadly Declined To Answer
“I said, ‘How do you feel?’ And he says, ‘Okay.’ I said, ‘Ronni? Do you know I love you so much?’ He said, ‘Yes.’” But Luther didn’t reply to his Mom’s next statement. “I said, ‘Please do me a favor and get well.’ And he never answered me.”
It Started With Mom’s Heart-Wrenching Attempt To Encourage An Ailing Luther
In a desperate attempt to encourage Luther to keep fighting, Mary sang him a song she hadn’t sang to him since he was a kid.
“I started singing: ‘You’ll never know just how much I love you / You’ll never know just how much I care …’”
Vandross Made His Mom Laugh In Midst Pain…But It Was Bittersweet
Luther instead lifted his Mom’s spirits:
“When I stopped, he said, ‘It was okay.’ I said, ‘Okay?! You know something? I have to duck from record companies trying to get me to sign up.’And he said, “Well, keep duckin!’ And we laughed. But when I left, and I saw him watch me, I just had a feeling that was the end.”
“That Thursday” Mary told her sister, “I hear death bells. I’m losing my son.” She continued, “And on Friday [July 1, 2005] I just couldn’t stop crying; I cried myself to sleep. And when I woke, my niece Brenda told me, “Ronni [Luther] died about an hour ago.”
“Oh, Lord…My Last Child”
“I screamed. I said, ‘Oh, Lord. My last child. Help me to understand.’ God knows how empty my life has been since all of my children are gone. I prayed for understanding. …Nobody on earth knows how I miss my children.”
Sadly, all four of Mrs. Vandross’ children died from diabetic complications. Three years after Luther’s death, his mother, Mary Ida Vandross, passed away following a month-long coma. May they all rest in eternal peace.