While many mourned the sad loss, Vandross' pal Patti Labelle made sure it wasn't all doom and gloom.
Wearing a bright yellow dress and a diamond necklace, she said, "There are no sad faces here today. It's not a mournful service. I'm celebrating because Luther would want us to."
She then joked, "So many people have babies because of Luther Vandross," before reciting a poem written by the dead star's mother MARY IDA.
On a touching note, LaBelle ended her speech by recalling Vandross' final album DANCE WITH MY FATHER. She said, "Now I know you're dancing with your father."
Warwick read Vandross' obituary and a touching letter from Gladys Knight, who was unable to attend the service.
Before the memorial service, Vandross' casket was carried from a Manhattan funeral parlour, where it was on display earlier this week (beg04JUL05), through Harlem. There it stopped briefly outside the famed Apollo Theater - where Vandross made his debut as a teenager.
Vandross, 54, died last Friday (01JUL05) at a New Jersey hospital, two years after he suffered a debilitating stroke. He'll be buried in a golden casket at George Washington Memorial Park in New Jersey this weekend.09/07/2005 01:39