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Little Richard, founding father of rock, dead at 87

The late singer’s former agent confirmed the devastating news.

Little Richard Ben Rose/WireImage for NARAS

Rest in power, Little Richard. On Saturday (May 9), the late singer’s former agent confirmed the devastating news in a statement. The musician was 87 years old.

According to Richard’s former agent, Dick Alen, the late singer’s cause of death was related to bone cancer. “Little Richard passed away this morning from bone cancer in Nashville. He was living with his brother in Nashville,” Alen informed PEOPLE. “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.”

In the 1950s, Richard’s career took off and he would go on to release several bangers including “Tutti Frutti” and “Long Tall Sally.” After news surfaced regarding the singer’s passing, his longtime band member, Kelvin Holly, posted a heartfelt tribute to social media.

“Rest in peace Richard. This one really stings. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of my bandmates and fans all over the world. Richard truly was the king!” Holly wrote.

In a similar fashion to Holly, American singer-songwriter, Charlie Daniels, shared a similar sentiment. “Just got word that Little Richard has passed away. So many musical memories of this unique talent and we were honored to have him at the Volunteer Jam one year. He was one of a kind. Rest in peace Richard Penniman,” he wrote.

Richard continued performing until April of 2016 and headlined several shows. In a since-deleted post to Facebook at the time, Richard’s friend, Bootsy Collins, shared that the Georgia native wasn’t “in the best of health.”

Richard is survived by his son, Danny Jones Penniman.

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