Little Richard, one of the most influential figures in the Rock and Roll cannon known for his signature pompadour, energetic lyrical innuendo, and all-timer hit “Tutti Frutti,” died Saturday at the age of 87, his son confirmed to Rolling Stone. His agent, Dick Alen, told People that Richard died from bone cancer and had been living with his brother in Nashville recently. “He was battling for a good while, many years,” Alen said. “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.”
Richard emerged on the scene with “Tutti Frutti” in 1956 and followed up with several more top-selling singles: “Long Tall Sally,” “Lucille,” “Good Golly Miss Molly,” and “Slippin’ and Slidin’.” “When I first came along, I never heard any rock & roll,” Richard told Rolling Stone in 1990. “When I started singing [rock & roll], I sang it a long time before I presented it to the public because I was afraid they wouldn’t like it. I never heard nobody do it, and I was scared.” His music inspired musicians from the Beatles to Lou Reed, from the Stones to David Bowie and Patti Smith and Prince.