Reports that rock and roll pioneer Little Richard is in extremely grave health have been percolating in the news, with website Digital Music News and The Mercury News reporting the singer is in poor health.
"A friend, a legend & some say the true King of Rock & Roll. Lil-Richard needs our love & understanding right now," Bootsy Collins wrote on Facebook on April 28th. "He is not in the best of health so I ask all the Funkateers to lift him up."
The reports are untrue, according to William Sobel, Little Richard's attorney of the past 30 years. "I just spoke to him today," Sobel tells 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.'"
Little Richard hasn't performed in the past two years and has kept largely away from the spotlight, reportedly living in a penthouse suite at the Hilton in downtown Nashville. "He had hip surgery," says Sobel. "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.'"