Mary Ida Vandross, Fighting Diabetes Nearly one year ago, R&B crooner Luther Vandross suffered a massive, debilitating stroke doctors say was brought on by his diabetes. His mother Mary Ida Vandross is taking up the fight while her son recovers -- she's now a spokesperson for a group advocating diabetes testing and treatment.

Mary Ida Vandross, Fighting Diabetes

Mother of R&B Icon Advocates Testing, Treatment of Disease

Mary Ida Vandross, Fighting Diabetes

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Singer Luther Vandross, sitting in a wheelchair, and RCA Records head Clive Davis pose with a framed copy of the singer's hit album Dance With My Father in a Februrary 2004 photo. © Reuters/Dan Klores Communications hide caption

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© Reuters/Dan Klores Communications

It has been a dramatic year of ups and downs for Luther Vandross. Nearly one year ago, the R&B icon suffered a massive, debilitating stroke that left him in a coma for more than a month.

Yet just a few weeks ago, Vandross won an unprecedented four Grammy awards for his album Dance With My Father, including the coveted Song of the Year award. Vandross is still recovering from his stroke and was unable to attend the awards.

From 'Dance With My Father'

Hear samples from the singer's Grammy-winning CD:

Listen 'Dance With My Father'

Listen 'Lovely Day Part II' featuring Busta Rhymes

Doctors are now saying the crooner's diabetes was the leading cause of his stroke. The singer's mother, Mary Ida Vandross, has become a spokesperson for the Charles Ray III Diabetes Association, encouraging diabetes testing, treatment and prevention in the African-American community.

She tells NPR's Tavis Smiley that the illness has literally stolen away members of her family. Her husband slipped into a diabetic coma at age 38 and never recovered, and her mother, oldest son, daughter and grandson have died from the disease.

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