Alen said Little Richard died in Nashville with his brother and son by his side. Alen told CNN the cause of death was related to bone cancer.
He called the star “one of the legends, the originator” and said Little Richard had been “sick for a while.”
Born Richard Penniman in Georgia in 1932, the stone pioneer would stand out in any era, but in the 1950s, when he became famous, he was like no other: a flamboyant black man, wearing makeup, playing piano that personified “devil’s music” for guardians.
Elvis Presley was one thing, but for all the push of her hips and back-combed hair, a naughty teenager, she was basically a polite Southern young man who loved his father. Little Richard, though … well, he may come from a large Southern family himself, but he represents something else.
“Richard opened the door. He brought the race together,” said arranger H.B. Barnum in the 1984 biography of Charles White “The Life and Times of Little Richard.”
“When I first went on the road, there were many separate hearings. With Richard, even though they still had separate hearings in the building, they were there TOGETHER. And often before the end of the night, they would all mix together.”
Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, without stooping on the stage, is also an admirer.
“There is not one sentence to describe his grip on the audience. I cannot believe the power of Little Richard on stage. He is extraordinary,” he said, according to White’s book.
Little Richard knew his strength. “They see me as a carrier, a way out,” he once said. “My means of expression, my music, is the way in which many people wish they could express themselves and cannot.”
This is a developing story. Return for updates.
Melissa Alonso from CNN contributed to this report.