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Little Richard honored by Michelle Obama, Jagger, others: 'We are so lucky to have had him'

"With his exuberance, his creativity, and his refusal to be anything other than himself, Little Richard laid the foundation for generations of artists to follow," Michelle Obama tweeted.
Image: Little Richard dead at 87
Little Richard performs at the Crossroad festival in Gijon, northern Spain, on July 23, 2005.Alonso Gonzalez / Reuters file

The death of Little Richard, a flamboyant founding father of rock 'n' roll, led to an outpouring of tributes. The singer, who influenced musicians from The Beatles to Prince, died at 87, it was announced Saturday.

"This one really stings. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of my bandmates and fans all over the world. Richard truly was the king!," Little Richard's longtime guitarist Kelvin Holly posted on Instagram.

"With his exuberance, his creativity, and his refusal to be anything other than himself, Little Richard laid the foundation for generations of artists to follow," former first lady Michelle Obama tweeted. "We are so lucky to have had him. Sending all my love to his family and friends today."

Pastor Bill Minson, a close friend of Little Richard’s, wrote a personal obituary on his Facebook page for a "great singer, actor and performer."

Rolling Stones' frontman Mick Jagger said the artist was an inspiration to him in his teenage years, and that his music "still has the same raw electric energy when you play it now as it did when it first shot through the music scene in the mid 50's."

Jagger when on to reflect about a time he was on tour with Little Richard. "I would watch his moves every night and learn from him how to entertain and involve the audience and he was always so generous with advice to me," he tweeted.

Singer-songwriter Patti Smith said on Instagram that Little Richard's hit "Tutti Frutti" awoke "a positive anarchy" in her "little girl's heart."

"Nothing was the same after hearing his exciting and excitable voice. In 1955 we were stomping in our Buster Brown shoes, and the name of the energy was Little Richard! Farewell voice of an age; he commingles with the firmament now," Smith wrote.

Tevin Campbell, a singer and actor, commemorated Little Richard's passing with a tweet recalling the first time he met him.

"I met Little Richard when I was 13 or 14 at Aunt Kizzy’s in Marina Del Ray. The advice he gave me is invaluable. He was such a class act and I will never forget the time I sat at his table and he talked to me like I was his little bro. RIP Little Richard," Campbell wrote.

Award-winning filmmaker Ava DuVernay also met Little Richard at Aunt Kizzy’s restaurant.

"I was a college student. He tipped me a crisp $100 bill each week on a $75 breakfast with friends. This was 30 years ago. Helped me so much. God rest his soul," DuVernay tweeted.

Other artists such as rapper Juicy J and rock band Beach Boy's Brian Wilson also expressed their condolences on social media.

"I’m very sorry to hear about Little Richard. He was there at the beginning and showed us all how to rock and roll. He was a such a great talent and will be missed. Little Richard’s music will last forever. Love & Mercy, Brian," Wilson tweeted.

Musician Roy Kelton Orbison Jr. said he was "really messed up" over Little Richard's death.

"Can't even explain why. As these 1st generation rock n rollers die, I just feel the earth getting weaker," he tweeted. "A strong light burned out today. What a great life and blessing #LittleRichard was. I met him a few times. He made an impact on us all."

Many other celebrities also honored the music icon. "Star Trek" actor George Takei said in a tweet, "This old 'Tutti Fruitti' will miss his style and flair. Play the keys among the stars now, sir. You will be missed."

Actress Viola Davis remembered him as a "performer who influenced generations of artists."

"You were AWESOME #LittleRichard!!! Your talent will reverberate forever. Well done sir. Rest well," she wrote in a tweet.