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It’s with a heavy heart that I report Little Richard, the Father of Rock and Roll, has passed away at 87.

The pioneer died on Saturday (May 9), according to his son, Danny Jones Penniman, whoever the cause of his death is unknown at this time.

Little Richard was 87.

Starting with “Tutti Frutti” in 1956, Little Richard cut a series of unstoppable hits – “Long Tall Sally” and “Rip It Up” that same year, “Lucille” in 1957, and “Good Golly Miss Molly” in 1958 – driven by his simple, pumping piano, gospel-influenced vocal exclamations and sexually charged (often gibberish) lyrics. “I heard Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis, and that was it,” Elton John told Rolling Stone in 1973. “I didn’t ever want to be anything else. I’m more of a Little Richard stylist than a Jerry Lee Lewis, I think. Jerry Lee is a very intricate piano player and very skillful, but Little Richard is more of a pounder.” 

Read more at Rolling Stone.

My sincerest condolences to the family, friends and fans of Little Richard.

Rest in paradise.

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