Legendary musician Stevie Wonder is facing serious but manageable health problems, but he continues to perform and make music, sources close to the singer say.
Reports have been coming out that the iconic Motown star is “doing better now than he was a couple of months ago,” one close friend of Wonder told the Detroit Free Press, as he prepares to head overseas for a pair of concerts. Wonder has been traveling with a medical team, the source said.
“He’s got some health challenges, but he doesn’t want a big PR thing out of this,” said musician Joan Belgrave, a longtime friend of the singer. Her late husband, Detroit jazz trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, met Wonder when the latter was a 13-year-old Motown prodigy, she said.
He knows what he has to do to get himself together, and he’s doing it,” Belgrave said. “He’s got a team around him — that’s what he needs. He’s got people around him who love him.”
Wonder was “joking and laughing” when they spoke by phone earlier this week, she said.
“He’s in great spirits. You would never know anything is going on. That’s how he wants it, and that’s how he wants to keep it,” Belgrave said. “He’s making music and doing what he does, and that’s what he wants to focus on.”
Speculation spread like wildfire on June 25 when a video went viral from a Philadelphia radio personality claimed that Wonder is suffering kidney failure and has begun dialysis.
Wonder’s publicist, Shelley Selover, declined to comment beyond saying: “Please know that nothing is verified unless it comes directly from us.”
Wonder has been trying to keep his health matters private, those close to the singer said, but he’s aware concerns if his legion of fans have for him.
“He said, ‘I love prayers, but tell them not to make a big deal about it,’” said Belgrave.