Soul superstar Luther Vandross' mother knew her beloved son was "slipping away" in the days before his death in July (05), because she could hear his death knell.

MARY IDA VANDROSS insists she knew her son wouldn't recover from his coma after she felt she could no longer communicate with him.

She explains, "Before his death I felt him slipping away because I used to talk to him and he could give me so much inspiration. Then, suddenly, he got into a place where I didn't reach him.

"I told my sister, 'I hear death bells... I am losing my son.'"

Mary admits she is slowly coming to terms with her son's death - because she accepts he stayed alive for as long as he could before passing away.

She adds, "When I'm depressed I talk to him and I ask him, 'Why,' and then I understand only too well that he'd suffered so long and he'd given me time to accept the fact that he was going to go to sleep."

Mary is grateful that she had one final chance to sing to her son the Sunday before he died.

She reveals, "I sang the song YOU'LL NEVER KNOW HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU and when I got almost to the end... I broke down and he said, 'Is that a part of it?'"