Little Richard, the ‘Architect of Rock and Roll,’ Laid To Rest At His Alma Mater

NEW YORK, NY Â  CIRCA 1988: Little Richard at the 1988 Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony circa 1988 in New York City. (Photo by Sonia Moskowitz/IMAGES/Getty Images)

Little Richard, the ‘Architect of Rock and Roll,’ Laid To Rest At His Alma Mater

The music icon passed away on May 9 from bone cancer.

Published May 21, 2020

Written by BET Staff

Little Richard, who thrilled fans for decades with his over the top performances and style, has reached his final resting place. 

The music and cultural legend was laid to rest at his alma mater, Oakwood University, on Wednesday (May 20).

  1. Richard, heralded as the ‘architect of Rock and Roll,’ was buried in a private ceremony at the Oakwood University Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Huntsville, Alabama. His funeral was attended by his family, close friends and former bandmates, PEOPLE reports. 

    According to a program obtained by the magazine, the service opened with a reading of a passage from 1 Corinthians. Oakwood University President Leslie Pollard then delivered an address before other individuals, including Richard’s niece Brandie Inez Sutton, took the podium to pay their respects to the late icon. The service ended with the singing of the hymn “Blessed Assurance” with closing remarks from pastor Furman F. Forham II, according to PEOPLE.

  2. Oakwood University is a historically Black Seventh Day Adventist college in Huntsville, Alabama. Richard enrolled there in 1957 for religious studies, but did not graduate, according to SPECTRUM magazine. He does hold an honorary degree from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia in 2013, the Knight Foundation said on its website.

    RELATED: Ava DuVernay Shares Sweet Story About Little Richard Tipping Her When She Was A Waitress

  3. Little Richard, born Richard Wayne Penniman, passed away on May 9 at the age of 87 from bone cancer. His agent, Dick Alen, confirmed to PEOPLE, revealing that he’d been battling the disease for sometime. 

    “He was battling for a good while, many years. I last spoke to him about two or three weeks ago. I knew he wasn’t well but he never really got into it, he just would say ‘I’m not well,’” Alen told the publication. “He’s been suffering for many years with various aches and pains. He just wouldn’t talk about it much.”

    In the wake of his death, Richard’s music has soared on streaming platforms. Billboard reported that his streaming numbers spiked by more than 2,228 percent just days after he passed away.

(Photo: Sonia Moskowitz/IMAGES/Getty Images)


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