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Pioneering rock ‘n’ roll singer Little Richard has died at the age of 87, the musician’s family has confirmed.

Little Richard’s hits included Good Golly Miss Molly, which made the UK charts in 1958. The Beatles, Elton John and Elvis all cited him an influence.

The singer, born in Georgia as Richard Wayne Penniman, was among the first group inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.

His other well-known songs include Tutti Frutti and Long Tall Sally.

Obituary: Little Richard

The star, who sold more than 30 million records worldwide, was known for his exuberant performances, shrieks, raspy voice and flamboyant outfits. He had his biggest hits in the 1950s.

Paying tribute after news of his death emerged, former Beatles drummer Sir Ringo Starr tweeted: “God bless Little Richard, one of my all-time musical heroes.”

Chic co-founder Nile Rodgers said it was “the loss of a true giant”, while Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys said his music would “last forever”.

Richard’s bass guitarist, Charles Glenn, told celebrity news website TMZ the singer had been ill for two months. He said Richard died at his Tennessee home, with his brother, sister and son beside him.

Little Richard was one of 12 children, and said he had started singing because he wanted to stand out from his siblings.

“I was the biggest head of all, and I still have the biggest head,” he told BBC Radio 4 in 2008.

“I did what I did, because I wanted attention. When I started banging on the piano and screaming and singing, I got attention.”

His music was embraced by both black and white fans at a time when parts of the US were still segregated, and concerts had a rope up the centre of the auditorium to divide people by colour. (BBC)

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