Recent reports suggesting Little Richard is “gravely ill” and “clinging to life” are untrue says a representative for the singer.
The initial health concerns, reported by both Digital Music News and The Mercury News, seem to be traced back to an alarming Facebook post made by friend and fellow funk pioneer Bootsy Collins. “A friend, a legend & some say the true King of Rock & Roll. Lil-Richard needs our love & understanding right now,” Collins wrote on April 28th in a post that has since been deleted. “He is not in the best of health so I ask all the Funkateers to lift him up.”
Richard, who turned 83 in December and has survived a heart attack, stroke, and hip surgery, has emerged through his lawyer to refute claims that he’s on “deathwatch.” “I just spoke to him today,” Will Soble told Rolling Stone. “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.'”
Sobel continued, adding: “He had hip surgery. He’s 83. I don’t know how many 83-year-olds still get up and rock it out every week, but in light of the rumors, I wanted to tell you that he’s vivacious and conversant about a ton of different things and he’s still very active in a daily routine. I used to represent Prince and he just engaged me in all kinds of Prince conversations, calling him a ‘creative genius.'”