Little Richard, one of the leading pioneers of rock ‘n’ roll, passed away today, aged 87. The musician’s son, Danny Jones Penniman, confirmed the news to Rolling Stone, but said the cause of death was unknown.
The pianist-singer behind iconic songs “Tutti Frutti,” “Good Golly Miss Molly” and “Long Tall Sally,” set the tone for generations of musicians to follow. His fervent shrieks, joyful persona, and flamboyant, gender-bending style revolutionized the genre and cemented him as one of the defining characters in the golden era of rock ‘n’ roll.
Little Richard briefly gave up music in 1957 to become an ordained minister. However, he later returned to secular rock music in 1964 and was eventually even inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. The music icon spent his last years in Los Angeles, still performing with his same signature bravado, even after hip surgery confined him to the piano.
His contributions to music won’t be forgotten.