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  1. ITV Report

Songwriter and musician Little Richard dies age 87

Influential rock 'n' roll pioneer Little Richard has died, aged 87.

The American singer and songwriter, Richard Penniman - known as Little Richard - was best known for tracks such as Tutti Fruiti, Long Tall Sally and Rip It Up.

His son, Danny Penniman, confirmed his death but said the cause was unknown, according to Rolling Stone.Pastor Bill Minson, a close friend of Little Richard’s, told The Associated Press that Little Richard died on Saturday morning.

The trailblazing performer is said to have influenced acts like David Bowie, Elvis, Elton John, the Beatles, Prince and more.

Little Richard performs at The Domino Effect, a tribute concert to New Orleans Rock and Roll musician Fats Domino, in New Orleans, in 2009. Credit: AP

The self proclaimed "architect of rock 'n' roll" was known for his boisterous personality an androgynous fashion.

Chic star Nile Rodgers described Little Richard’s death as “the loss of a true giant” while radio presenter Tony Blackburn said the singer was a “terrific artiste”.

Little Richard, born Richard Penniman, sold more than 30 million records worldwide.

The singer was a major influence on The Beatles, who first met him when they were an up-and-coming young band playing in Germany.

Little Richard, pictured in 1966. Credit: AP

Speaking in 2002, Little Richard said: “Paul (McCartney) would watch me every night when I was up on stage. Paul idolised me and admired my energy.

“The way you see Mick Jagger and Tina Turner walk all over the stage is what I used to do. That’s where they all got it from.”

Rolling Stone said Sir Elton told the magazine in 1973: “I heard Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis, and that was it. I didn’t ever want to be anything else.”