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Luther VandrossR.I.P. Luther Vandross; a man who believed in love.

New York City native, actor, and R&B balladeer, Luther Vandross passed away eight years ago (2005) today at the age of 54 due to alleged heart complications from a stroke he suffered from in 2003.

Vandross was a phenomenon when his debut (self-produced) album Never Too Much released in 1981, which sold over a million copies, rightfully earning the platinum status. Although, it wasn’t until the early 1990’s that Vandross’ voice would make him a pop success and musical icon.

He was awarded his first Grammy award for “Here and Now,” in 1991 and attained his next two a year later for “Power of Love,” then his fourth in 1997 for “Your Secret Love.” A year before passing away in 2005, Vandross earned four Grammys.

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Hip-Hop has great respect for the dearly departed icon. Notable references have been made to the name, music, and overall swagger of Luther Vandross by Kanye West and Jamie Foxx in “Slow Jamz,” (which he sampled Vandross) Dr. Dre in “Rat-Tat-Tat-Tat,” (mentions “Creepin’” a song by Vandross”) Eric Sermon (of E.P.M.D.) in “I’m Housin’,” just to name a few.

His decades of success and untimely death points to a potential greatness that was stopped too soon. Below is the video to Vandross’ “Never Too Much,” that takes you back to the portable boombox, toe tapping, funky era of music but be sure to peep the slideshow of his albums, accomplishments, and more.