Little Richard laid to rest with low-key funeral

Legendary musician Little Richard has been laid to rest in a low-key funeral at Oakwood University Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Huntsville, Alabama.

The Tutti Frutti singer died on 9 May 2020 aged 87 after a battle with bone cancer, his son Danny confirmed. His cause of death has yet to be announced.

A small number of Richard’s family members, friends and former band mates gathered to pay their final respects at the service.

According to TMZ, the rock and roll star’s niece Brandie Sutton sang, while Richard’s family spokesman David Person gave some closing remarks.

Little Richard, real name Richard Wayne Penniman, attended Oakwood to study theology in the 1950s.

His burial at the historically black university was reported by AP on Friday.

Ringo Starr and Jimmy Page led tributes to Little Richard after the news of his passing.

The Beatles singer Ringo wrote on Twitter: ‘God bless little Richard one of my all-time musical heroes. Peace and love to all his family.’

Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy added: ‘RIP Little Richard, a very sad loss. My thoughts are with his loved ones.⁣ ⁣ It’s Little Richard’s songs that pioneered rock’n’roll.

‘I got to hear him and his band at the Newport Lounge in Miami and boy were they good.’

Known as the founding father of rock and roll, Little Richard shot to fame with a string of classic hits, including his debut single Tutti Frutti in 1956.

While he never won a Grammy, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993, while three of his songs – Tutti Frutti, Lucille and Long Tall Sally – were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. 

Other honours bestowed upon him include Tutti Frutti being included in the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress in 2010, and receiving a Rhapsody & Rhythm Award from the National Museum of African American Music for changing American culture significantly and helping to bring an end to the racial divide on the charts in the 50s. 

The artist was known for his shouted vocals and frenetic piano playing, but also his flamboyant on-stage style, often wearing capes and sequins during concerts.

He is survived by his son Danny, who he adopted with ex-wife Ernestine.

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