Luther Vandross has tracheotomy. His vocal cords are intact, but the stroke-afflicted singer is still listed as critical but stable

By Gary Susman
Updated April 29, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

Luther Vandross, still battling for his life after his April 16 stroke, underwent a tracheotomy over the weekend to help him fight off pneumonia, his business manager said in a statement. The operation did not damage his vocal cords, but the singer remains in intensive care and is still listed as critical but stable.

Business manager Carmen Romano said that doctors at Weill Cornell Medical Center of New York-Presbyterian Hospital are still ”waiting for him to regain full consciousness. I am told that this may take some time.” Lois Najarian, a publicist for J Records, told the Associated Press that the 52-year-old Grammy-winning singer had not yet opened his eyes or spoken in the two weeks since the stroke, and that doctors did not know yet whether he’d suffered any permanent neurological damage, such as paralysis. ”I think it’s a day-to-day analysis of the situation,” she said of his prognosis. ”No one really knows what to expect.”