Rumors that legendary singer Little Richard may be dying have spread across the internet this weekend after a cryptic tweet from fellow musician Bootsy Collins asking for prayers.
On Thursday, Collins sent a tweet saying that Little Richard is in need of “love & understanding.”
A friend, a legend & some say the true King of Rock & Roll. Lil-Richard needs our love & understanding right now.... https://t.co/YSmC0B2p17— Bootsy Collins (@Bootsy_Collins) April 28, 2016
The tweet had many fans worried that the 83-year-old Little Richard may be dying. Many shared Collins’s status, offering prayers for Little Richard and support both to him and his family.
Sending love to Little Richard and his family at this time. Hope he pulls through this sudden condition ????— floyd pinkerton (@bIixabargeld) May 1, 2016
Though the tweet from Collins is going viral, there is still no confirmation to the rumor that Little Richard is in ill health. His official Facebook page makes no mention of any health crisis, and his representatives have made no statement either.
There is some chance that fans may be misinterpreting the tweet from Bootsy Collins. Collins linked to a story from Oxford American magazine that detailed Little Richard’s declining health, but it was published in December of last year and made no mention of any imminent health crisis. The report claimed that Little Richard had been living in a penthouse suite at the Hilton hotel in downtown Nashville. It also noted that he has been confined to a wheelchair since a hip surgery in 2009 that “went awry.”
The story’s writer, David Ramsey, quoted Little Richard from a rare public appearance at Nashville’s Wildhorse Saloon, where the National Museum of African American Music was holding a luncheon in his honor.
“I came to Nashville to see my sister. I bought a home for me and her here in the hills,” the legendary singer said. “And I went in for surgery on my hip. I was walking on my way in but I couldn’t walk out. The hip surgery was really bad for me. I haven’t walked since. I’m in pain twenty-four hours a day. I have never seen nothing like it.”
Ramsey said he was able to track down Little Richard’s cell phone number and cold called him. Little Richard answered but said politely he would not do an interview, Ramsey noted.
“People have been calling me from all over the world,” Ramsey quoted the singer. “But I haven’t been doing any interviews, I’ve been refusing all of them. I’ll be 83 on December 5. The Lord has blessed me to still be alive.”
Little Richard’s health has been in the spotlight in recent years. His shows began to decline from his usual standards in the past years, and in 2012 he was forced to stop a concert, telling the crowd that he could “hardly breathe.”
The following year, Little Richard announced at a Recording Academy fundraiser that he suffered a recent heart attack.
“I was coughing, and my right arm was aching,” he said, via Rolling Stone. “I told my son, ‘Make the room as cold as ice.’ So he turned the air conditioning on, and I took a baby aspirin. The doctor told me that saved my life. Jesus had something for me. He brought me through.”
Little Richard would announce his retirement from music just a few weeks later.
While there is still no confirmation to the rumor that Little Richard is dying, many fans are suggesting that it could be either a hoax or simply the rumor mill churning too rapidly. Some noted that the recent death of musician Prince has music fans on edge, making them more likely to believe reports that another music legend is in ill health.
[Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images]