GOOD Golly Miss Molly! Rock god LITTLE RICHARD admits he narrowly cheated death after suffering a shocking heart attack!
Now the 80-year-old rock ’n’ roll legend hints the frightening drama is the beginning of the end of his legendary life.
During a candid discussion with singer CeeLo Green, one of the coaches on NBC’s hit show The Voice, at a Sept. 29 fundraiser for the Recording Academy in Atlanta, Ga., the flamboyant entertainer revealed his chilling medical crisis. He said only his quick thinking and divine intervention helped him survive.
A week before meeting Green, the frail musician’s failing health forced him to make the trip to Atlanta from Nashville, Tenn., on a tour bus equipped with a hospital bed.
“I didn’t know I was having a heart attack,” explains Richard, who is also a deeply religious piano-pounding preacher. “I was coughing and my right arm was aching. I told my son, ‘Make the room as cold as ice.’ So he turned the air conditioning on and I took a baby aspirin.
“The doctor told me that saved my life. I had a massive heart attack. Jesus had something for me. He brought me through.”
But the Tutti Frutti sensation, who battled booze and drugs in the ’60s and ’70s, admits his time is running short and he’s ready to meet his maker.
“God talked to me the other night,” he says. “I’m almost 81 years old. Without God, I wouldn’t be here.”
Little Richard’s shocking heart attack comes on the heels of his recent announcement that he was finally retiring after a storied career.
Though he’d been rockin’ and rollin’ since the 1950s, practically without a let-up, the iconic singer of classics like Lucille was slowed by hip surgery in November 2009.
He hasn’t performed since a near-collapse during a gig last summer at Washington, D.C.’s historic Howard Theatre.
“I am done, in a sense, because I don’t feel like doing anything right now,” says the star, who was born Richard Wayne Penniman in Macon, Ga.
Richard who was inducted into the 1986 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 now spends his days designing clothes and praying.
Considered by many as the real originator of the music that took the country’s teens by storm in the ’50s, he’s also seeking to cement his rightful place in rock history before going to his grave.
“I think my legacy should be that when I started in show business, there wasn’t no such thing as rock ’n’ roll,” he says.
"When I started with Tutti Frutti, that’s when rock really started rocking.”
POP FYI: “Tutti Frutti” first topped the charts at Number 12 in 1955 with a cover version by PAT BOONE — besting Richard’s original version which stalled at Number 17. Regardless, the damage had been done — by LIttle Richard.