Stevie Wonder announces musical hiatus to undergo kidney transplant

The music legend is set to take some time away from performing

Stevie Wonder has revealed plans to take a break away from music and the spotlight, with the icon set to have a kidney transplant later this year.

The singer revealed the news towards the end of his set at Barclaycard’s British Summer Time festival in Hyde Park in London yesterday (6 July). After playing his timeless hit ‘Superstition’, he told the London crowd he had a donor lined up and would play three more shows before having surgery in September.

“I’m going to be doing three shows then taking a break,” said Wonder. “I’m having surgery. I’m going to have a kidney transplant at the end of September this year. I came here to give you my love and to thank you for yours. You ain’t gotta hear no rumours about us, I’m good.”

The 69-year-old’s announcement was greeted by supportive applause from the audience, who had already witnessed a triumphant set as Wonder played classics including ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)’, ‘Living For The City’ and ‘Sir Duke’, and was supported by Lionel Richie. Wonder also paid tribute to the likes of Amy Winehouse and David Bowie, covering their hits ‘Rehab’ and ‘Let’s Dance’ – along with renditions of classics by Prince and Marvin Gaye.

There was even a moment where he defiantly covered controversial late pop star Michael Jackson‘s ‘Billie Jean’.

Wonder, who learned to play piano, drums and harmonica by the age of 9 and signed to Motown in 1961, is one of the biggest selling artists of all time. He has sold over 100 million units worldwide, picking up 25 Grammy awards during a celebrated career.

The series of BST Hyde Park concerts kicked off on Friday (5 July) with a show featuring Canadian star Celine Dion. Artists including Barbra Streisand, Florence and the Machine and Robbie Williams are all set to take the stage over the next week.

Stevie Wonder’s Hyde Park setlist was:

As If You Read My Mind
Master Blaster (Jammin’)
Jamming (Bob Marley & The Wailers cover)
Higher Ground
Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing
Rocket Love
You and I (We Can Conquer the World) (with Daley)
For Once in My Life (Jean DuShon cover)
Creepin’ (with Corinne Bailey Rae)
Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours
What’s Going On (Marvin Gaye cover)
Billie Jean (Michael Jackson cover)
When Doves Cry (Prince cover)
Let’s Dance (David Bowie cover)
Rehab (Amy Winehouse cover)
Respect (Otis Redding cover)
Sir Duke
I Wish
Living For The City
My Cherie Amour
You Are the Sunshine of My Life
Imagine (John Lennon cover)
I Just Called to Say I Love You
Do I Do
Superstition

Earlier this year, Wonder responded to the allegations levelled against his late friend and collaborator Michael Jackson in the documentary Leaving Neverland, when he said: “He’s died, he’s dead. Hopefully, we can continue the legacy of inspiration he has given a lot of kids and a lot of people.”