Stevie Wonder to Have Kidney Transplant Surgery

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Stevie Wonder, in a photo posted on his Facebook page in 2013

Stevie Wonder surprised an audience who had gathered to see him perform in London’s Hyde Park with news that he will be undergoing kidney transplant surgery in September. The 69-year-old legend headlined a lineup on Saturday (July 6) as part of the annual British Summer Time concert series. He told the crowd: “I’m going to have surgery. I’m going to have a kidney transplant in September of this year. It’s all good.”

Wonder said he already has a donor.

The July 6 event was called “Stevie Wonder Song Party,” with Lionel Richie joining as a special guest. If he hadn’t made the announcement, few, if any, would have noticed anything wrong with Wonder. The Detroit Free Press reported on July 3 that Wonder had an ongoing medical issue.

At the Hyde Park performance, Wonder said: “I don’t want to have any rumors about it because I look to keep it real with you all the time. So here’s the deal: I’m going to be doing three more shows and then I’m going to be taking a break. I’m going to have a kidney transplant in September of this year.” The crowd then erupted in applause.

“I’m all good. I have a donor. It’s all good.”

His 17-song set included such favorites as “My Cherie Amour,” “For Once in My Life” and “I Just Called to Say I Love You,” before closing with “Superstition.”

Toward the end of Wonder’s set, he performed John Lennon’s “Imagine.” “To all of the leaders in the world,” he said, “if you want us to stop singing this song, then cut all the bullshit.”

His next concert is July 9 at 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland.

Very few artists have had the kind of run that Wonder enjoyed between 1972 and 1976, when he recorded five studio albums that showcased his remarkable singing, songwriting, musicianship and production skills: 1972’s Music of My Mind and Talking Book (featuring the twin #1 hits “Superstition” and “You Are the Sunshine of My Life”); 1973’s Innervisions (“Higher Ground,” “Don’t You Worry ‘bout a Thing” and the epic “Living for the City”); 1974’s tongue-twister Fulfillingness’ First Finale (the infectious “You Haven’t Done Nothin’” featuring labelmates the Jackson 5 and “Boogie on Reggae Woman”) and 1976’s two-record Songs in the Key of Life (most notably the #1 hits “I Wish” and “Sir Duke” plus “Isn’t She Lovely”).

As of 10 p.m. ET on July 6, neither Wonder’s website, Facebook page or Twitter account made any mention of his announcement.

Related: Our review of Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life concert

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