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Rock 'n' roll icon Little Richard dead at 87

Little Richard died Saturday at age 87. File Photo by Heinz Ruckemann/UPI
Little Richard died Saturday at age 87. File Photo by Heinz Ruckemann/UPI | License Photo

May 9 (UPI) -- Rock 'n' roll icon Little Richard died at his Tennessee home Saturday, his family announced. He was 87.

Danny Jones Penniman, Little Richard's son, confirmed his death to Rolling Stone.

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The cause is not yet known.

The artist's longtime guitarist, Charles Glenn, told TMZ he had been sick for about two months and was surrounded by his brother, sister and son when he died.

Born Richard Wayne Penniman, singer and piano player Little Richard was famous for his flashy fashion and a string of 1950s hit songs that included "TuttiFrutti," "Good Golly Miss Molly," "Long Tong Sally," "Rip It Up," "Jenny Jenny," "Keep A-Knockin" and "Lucille."

He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993.

"Sadly, Little Richard passed away today," Gene Simmons of KISS fame tweeted. "A founding Father of Rock And Roll, his contributions simply can't be overstated. I had the honor of meeting Richard in his later years and was awed by his presence. He told me, 'I am the architect of Rock And Roll.' Amen! ... Rest In Peace."

"I served soul food brunch to Little Richard every Sunday for a year while waitressing at Aunt Kizzy's Back Porch in LA. I was a college student. He tipped me a crisp $100 bill each week on a $75 breakfast with friends. This was 30 years ago. Helped me so much. God rest his soul," filmmaker Ava DuVernay said on Twitter.

Actor-comedian Wayne Brady posted on Instagram: "RIP Little Richard. Thank you @americansoulbet for the opportunity to play him while he was alive to see. I'd been lucky to have crossed paths with him a few times and work with him. His voice, his humor, his bravery. An amazing man and performer. Comfortable in his own skin, no matter who said what, in a time when it could get you killed. He was the true King of Rock and Roll!"

Notable deaths of 2020

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Richard "Dick" Thornburgh, former attorney general of the United States and former governor of Pennsylvania, takes a seat at the witness hearing after U.S. Chief Justice nominee Judge John Roberts testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on September 15, 2005. Thornburgh died on December 31 at age 88. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo

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