One of rock music’s first out, Black performers, Little Richard has died at the age of 87, his manager has confirmed.
The star had suffered from a spate of bad health in recent years including a stroke, heart attack and hip problems. His family announced that he died of bone cancer in Tullahoma, Tennessee.
Little Richard was born as Richard Wayne Penniman in 1932.
According to his manager, Dick Alen, who had been Little Richard’s manager for 40 years, the entertainer died on the 9th of May.
Alen said, “He was living with his brother in Nashville,”
“He was battling for a good while, many years. I last spoke to him about two or three weeks ago. I knew he wasn’t well but he never really got into it, he just would say ‘I’m not well.’
“He’s been suffering for many years with various aches and pains. He just wouldn’t talk about it much.”
Since the news of his death, thousands of tributes have been made to the star with the star’s name trending on Twitter.
The star’s first major hit was “Tutti Fruit” in 1956 and that song spured an enduring career that spanned 15 studio albums and 37 singles.
His last major hit was “Bama Lama Bama Loo” which was released in 1964 and reached number 20 in the UK.
Complicated history with sexuality.
Throughout the years, Little Richard’s relationship with his sexuality was complicated having come out as gay and then denouncing his homosexuality due to his alliance with religion.
He also married a woman, Ernestine Harvin, and later adopted a son.
In 1995 he admitted that he knew he was gay all his life however he later stated that he was “omnisexual”.
In 2017, the last time he spoke publicly about sexuality he said, on the Three Angels Broadcasting Network that LGBT+ identities were an “unnatural affection” that goes against “the way God wants you to live”