Madonna removed a photo of Luther Vandross from her on-stage AIDS tribute at his estate's request.

The pop star's ongoing Celebrations tour has included a tribute section featuring the faces of a number of celebrities who had died of AIDS-related illness, projected onto a screen as Madonna, 65, performed her 1986 song Live to Tell.

They included celebrity photographer Herb Ritts, Queen frontman Freddie Mercury and artist Keith Haring.

During Madonna's Sacramento concerto on Saturday, 24 February, a photograph of Le Freak singer Luther Vandross appeared, prompting a statement from his estate.

“Luther Vandross passed away in 2005 due to complications from a stroke suffered two years earlier," a representative of Luther's estate told Page Six.

“While we appreciate Madonna’s recognition of those lives lost to AIDS, Luther was NEVER diagnosed with AIDS or the HIV Virus.

“We’re not sure where she or her production team received false medical information claiming otherwise. We’re currently in contact with her management to remove Luther Vandross from the tribute."

In 2017, Patti LaBelle, 79, said Luther, who was a close friend of the Lady Marmalade singer, never publicly disclosed he was gay.

“We talked about it,” Patti told Watch What Happens Live. “Basically, he did not want his mother to be… although she might have known, but he wasn’t going to come out and say this to the world. And he had a lot of lady fans and he told me he just didn’t want to upset the world.”