LONDON—Stevie Wonder told thousands of fans watching him perform in London on Saturday night he is due to have a kidney transplant in September.
The singer, songwriter and musician told the crowd at an event in Hyde Park that he had a donor lined up, and was making the announcement to avoid rumors spreading about his health.
“I’m going to have surgery, I am going to have a kidney transplant in September of this year,” he said as he finished his performance, according to footage posted on Twitter by those at the concert.
The moment, this evening at Hyde Park, Stevie Wonder told us why he would be taking a break from performing…. pic.twitter.com/pwfjnczGKx
— Aleem Maqbool (@AleemMaqbool) July 6, 2019
The sixty-nine-year-old, who has won more Grammy awards than any other artist and whose hits include “Superstitious”, “I Just Called to Say I Love You” and “Isn’t She Lovely”, did not reveal what was behind him needing the transplant.
“I’m all good, I’m all good, I’m all good. I have a donor it’s all good,” he added after a supportive cheer from the crowd.
“I have a donor, it’s all good.”
Stevie Wonder surprised concertgoers over the weekend by announcing that he will take a break from performing so that he can receive a kidney transplant this fall. https://t.co/sZrZsZfJZS pic.twitter.com/TDUPyBhS4O
— ABC News (@ABC) July 8, 2019
“I want you to know I came here to give you my love and to thank you for your love, you ain’t got to hear no rumors about nothing, I told you what’s up, I’m good.”
The Detroit Free Press reported on Wednesday, July 3, that Wonder had been battling “a serious but manageable health issue” and has been touring overseas with a medical team.
A representative for Wonder didn’t immediately respond to a request Saturday for details about his health. He has kept an active schedule, including performing recently at a Los Angeles memorial service for slain rapper Nipsey Hussle.
Wonder seemed in top form throughout the concert, performing a series of his hits and paying tribute to musical heroes including Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye and John Lennon. He performed stirring rendition of the latter’s “Imagine” near the end of the show.
He fans reveled in the warm summer night—though a light drizzle fell near the end—and the career-spanning retrospective that evoked Wonder’s early days as a young Motown star.
He did seem less ebullient than in the past and made his health announcement in a somber tone with a severe look on his face. But he was smiling as he left the stage with the band playing the memorable conclusion of “Superstition” one final time.
Wonder learned to play piano, drums and harmonica by age 9 and signed to Motown in 1961.
Since then, he has won 25 Grammy Awards, an honorary award and has been nominated 74 times.
By Kylie MacLellan
The Associated Press and The CNN Wire contributed to this article.