The characteristics of a diffuser rotating stall and the evolution of a vortex generated on the diffuser leading edge (i.e., leading-edge vortex (LEV)) in a centrifugal compressor were investigated using experiments and numerical analyses. The experimental results showed that both impeller and diffuser rotating stalls occurred at 55 and 25 Hz during off-design flow operation. Both the stall cells existed only on the shroud side of the flow passages, which is in close proximity to the source location of the LEV. The numerical results showed that the LEV is a combination of a separated vortex near the leading edge and the extended tip-leakage flow from the impeller. In the partial flow operation, the LEV develops as the velocity decreases in the diffuser passages and forms a huge flow blockage within the diffuser passages. Therefore, the LEV may be considered to be one of the causes of diffuser stall in the centrifugal compressor.