Iconic musician and father of Rock & Roll, Little Richard is believed to be in serious medical distress. Over the past few years, Little Richard has suffered from a stroke, hip surgery and most recently a heart attack that has seen him become even more reclusive in his Macon, Georgia home. But a recent tweet from fellow musician and former band member Bootsy Collins has fans concerned about the legend.
This past weekend, Collins tweeted from his account @Bootsy_Collins, “A friend, a legend & some say the true King of Rock & Roll. Lil-Richard needs our love & understanding right now….”
The rumor mill started to fly and fans are now growing concerned over the singer’s health and reports that family members are gathering at his bedside. Multiple media outlets are now reporting that Little Richard is in critical condition at an unnamed hospital. However, there has been no official word from his publicist or family members about his health. In 2013, he suffered a heart attack during a fundraising event for the Recording Academy and announced his retirement from music a few weeks afterwards. Before the announcement, he had to stop a concert when he told the audience that he could barely breathe and exited the stage.
Little Richard, real name Richard Wayne Penniman, was born in Macon in 1932. From an early age, he had a love of music and performing which caused concern for his parents. He joined a Black traveling music show that led to him performing on the “Chitlin Circuit” throughout the Black South. He was well known for wearing thick “pancake” makeup and his outrageous stage presence that was combined with an equally wild lifestyle. In 2000, the movie Richard directed by Robert Townsend and starring actor Leon portrayed his incredible music career. Little Richard was part of the musical acts that changed what was known then as “race music” to the term “rock & roll” as Whites purchased his records and made him a recording star. The singer is now 83 and regarded as the father of “Rock & Roll” by such megastars as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones who have called him an inspiration behind their music.