Little Richard is not dying — in fact the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll said he is still singing.
After rumors this weekend that the 83-year-old singer is on his deathbed amid an undisclosed health crisis, Little Richard himself reached out to give a health update refuting the reports.
William Sobel, who has served as Little Richard’s attorney for the past 30 years, told Rolling Stone that the music legend wanted to set the record straight himself.
“I just spoke to him today,” Sobel told the magazine. “He said, ‘You know, I want you to talk to [the press] because I’m really annoyed. This thing started on Facebook. Not only is my family not gathering around me because I’m ill, but I’m still singing. I don’t perform like I used to, but I have my singing voice, I walk around, I had hip surgery a while ago but I’m healthy.’ “
Little Richard Denies Near-Death Rumors: 'I'm Still Singing' https://t.co/OyDGepk8tp— Yahoo Music (@YahooMusic) May 3, 2016
Sobel added that Little Richard had hip surgery that has slowed him down in recent years, but said the rocker is still “vivacious and conversant about a ton of different things and he’s still very active in a daily routine.” Sobel added that he used to represent Prince, and in recent days he and Little Richard had been talking about Prince’s creative genius.
The rumors that Little Richard could be dying were sparked last week when fellow musician Bootsy Collins posted a message on Facebook telling fans to pray for Little Richard.
“He is not in the best of health so I ask all the Funkateers to lift him up,” he wrote.
The message had many fans worried that Little Richard was dying, though it may have been a misunderstanding on the part of Bootsy Collins. In his message, Collins linked to a December 2015 story from the Oxford American magazine that detailed Little Richard’s declining health. The report noted that Little Richard was living in a hotel penthouse in Nashville and has been confined to a wheelchair since a hip surgery in 2009 that “went awry.”
The story’s author, David Ramsey, was able to track down Little Richard, who did not want to give an interview.
“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 retired from performing in 2013 after a series of health scares. He had to halt a 2012 concert, telling the crowd he could “hardly breathe.” The next year, shortly before announcing his retirement, Little Richard told the crowd 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.”
With the health update from Little Richard, many fans have breathed a sigh of relief that the music legend is not dying. There were many who took to social media to refute the previous reports and celebrate Little Richard’s music. Many others speculated on how the death rumor could have been started, including some who believed it spread among sensitive music fans still reeling from the death of Prince late last month.
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