Little Richard laid to rest in private funeral

The rock 'n' roll legend passed away earlier this month aged 87, and his friends, family, and former band members gathered in Huntsville, Alabama, for his funeral on Wednesday.

FILE: US rock legend Little Richard performs on the stage of the Terre Neuvas festival in July 2006 in Bobital, western France. Picture: AFP

LOS ANGELES - Late rock 'n' roll legend Little Richard was laid to rest in Alabama on Wednesday.

The rock 'n' roll legend passed away earlier this month aged 87, and his friends, family, and former band members gathered at the Oakwood University Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Huntsville, Alabama, for his funeral on Wednesday.

According to TMZ, Richard's niece, opera singer Brandie Sutton, performed at the service.

The _Tutti Frutti _hitmaker - widely regarded as the pioneer of rock 'n' roll - was laid to rest after a eulogy from Dr. Carlton P. Byrd, and family spokesman David Person also remembered the singer with some kind words.

Richard's son Danny Jones Penniman confirmed earlier this month that his father - real name Richard Wayne Penniman - had died.

The star passed away at his Tennessee home surrounded by his family members.

His breakout hit, Tutti Frutti, was released in 1956 and soared to number two on Billboard's Rhythm and Blues bestsellers chart.

It also made the top 25 on the Billboard Top 100 and top 30 on the British singles chart, selling a million copies.

Several stars paid tribute to him, including The Beach Boys' Brian Wilson.

He wrote: "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 and Mercy, Brian (sic)"

Gene Simmons tweeted: "Sadly, Little Richard passed away today. A founding Father of Rock And Roll, his contributions simply can't be overstated. I had the honour of meeting Richard in his later years and was awed by his presence. He told me, 'I am the architect of Rock And Roll.' Amen! ... Rest In Peace. (sic)"