Living legend Stevie Wonder is to take a break from touring for health reasons.
The 69-year-old told a crowd of 65,000 adoring fans at London’s Hyde Park at the weekend that he is to have a kidney transplant.
Wonder made the revelation at British Summer Time (BST), after delivering a thumping rendition of Superstition.
He added: “I’m all good, I’m all good. I have a donor, it’s all good.”
The Motown star will perform three more shows in Carolina in the US later this month before stepping back from the limelight to manage his health. It’s uncertain when, or even if, he will return to the stage.
Rumours that Wonder was suffering from “a serious but manageable” health condition have been circulating for months. And even though he was mind-blowingly good at BST, he did take a break mid-set during which time a DJ played hit songs from late music legends including David Bowie and Aretha Franklin.
A glittering career
Born Stevland Hardaway Morris, Wonder lost his sight shortly after birth, but this didn’t stop him singing in church or mastering the piano, harmonica and drums at an early age.
This prodigious talent soon got him noticed and earnt him the name Little Stevie Wonder. He had his first Billboard hit at the age 13 before dropping the “Little” from his title and going on to forge a massive career.
Wonder has sold more than 100 million records and won 25 Grammys. His hits include Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours, Superstition and Higher Ground.
Songs in the Key of Life, his 1976 double album, is considered a landmark recording and included Isn’t She Lovely, and Master Duke, his funk tribute to Duke Ellington.
A masterful songwriter, instrumentalist and singer, Wonder is considered a musical pioneer. His ability to seamlessly merge the genres of soul, funk and jazz and inspired a legion of artists including John Legend, Chaka Khan, Prince and George Michael.
Then there is, of course, that voice. Brimming with warmth, authenticity and emotion, it is one of the truly great mix voices. Wonder is noted for his vocal elasticity and his ability to handle complex vocal runs with ease.