Stevie Wonder says he's getting a kidney transplant in fall

LONDON — Stevie Wonder surprised concertgoers in London Saturday night by announcing that he will take a break from performing so that he can receive a kidney transplant this fall.

The 69-year-old music legend made the announcement after performing "Superstition" at the end of a packed British Summer Time concert in London's Hyde Park.

He said he was speaking out to quell rumors and sought to reassure fans that he would be okay.

"I'm going to be doing three shows then taking a break," he said. "I'm having surgery. I'm going to have a kidney transplant at the end of September this year."

He said a donor has been found and that he would be fine, drawing cheers from a devoted crowd of tens of thousands that stretched out from the stage as far as the eye could see.

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Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin together
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Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin together
146027 08: (NO NEWSWEEK - NO USNEWS) Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson and Diana Ross stand with a crowd in front of the Lincoln Memorial January 17, 1993 in Washington, DC. Numerous musicians and performers gathered in front of the Memorial to celebrate the inauguration of President Bill Clinton. (Photo by Cynthia Johnson/Liaison)
Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder during 2006 Trumpet Awards - Show at Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. (Photo by Moses Robinson/WireImage)
PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 07: Singers Aretha Franklin (L) and Stevie Wonder perform onstage at the 10th Annual Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards held at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on September 7, 2005 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 07: Singers Aretha Franklin (L) and Stevie Wonder onstage at the 10th Annual Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards held at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on September 7, 2005 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Singers Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder perform together during the finale of VH1's "Divas Live: The One and Only Aretha Franklin" a live televised concert at New York's Radio City Music Hall, April 10, 2001.
Musicians Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder sing together at the BET Honors in Washington January 14, 2012. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 13: Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin attend the BET Honors 2012 Pre-Honors dinner at the Corcoran Gallery of Art on January 13, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/WireImage)
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"I came here to give you my love and to thank you for yours," he said. "You ain't gonna hear no rumors about us. I'm good."

He did not provide additional information about his kidney illness. There had been a recent report that Wonder was facing a serious health issue.

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, who has received more than two-dozen Grammy Awards, has produced a string of hits over a long career that began when he was a youngster who performed as Little Stevie Wonder. His classic hits include "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" and "Living for the City."

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.

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Stevie Wonder at the Global Citizen Festival
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Stevie Wonder at the Global Citizen Festival
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 23: Stevie Wonder and Kwame Morris perform onstage during the 2017 Global Citizen Festival: For Freedom. For Justice. For All. in Central Park to End Extreme Poverty by 2030 at Central Park on September 23, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Global Citizen)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 23: Pharrell Williams and Stevie Wonder perform onstage during the 2017 Global Citizen Festival: For Freedom. For Justice. For All. in Central Park to End Extreme Poverty by 2030 at Central Park on September 23, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Global Citizen)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 23: Stevie Wonder performs onstage during the 2017 Global Citizen Festival: For Freedom. For Justice. For All. in Central Park to End Extreme Poverty by 2030 at Central Park on September 23, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Global Citizen)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 23: Stevie Wonder and Kwame Morris perform onstage during the 2017 Global Citizen Festival: For Freedom. For Justice. For All. in Central Park to End Extreme Poverty by 2030 at Central Park on September 23, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Global Citizen)
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Associated Press television writer Lynn Elber in Los Angeles contributed.

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