Little Richard, the self-proclaimed "architect of rock 'n' roll," has died at the age of 87.

His music was the soundtrack for a generation, bringing iconic, rebellious hits such as Tutti Frutti, Good Golly Miss Molly and Long Tall Sally to the airwaves.

The Associated Press was told that the singer died on Saturday morning by Pastor Bill Minson, a close friend of his.

Chic star Nile Rodgers described Little Richard's death as "the loss of a true giant" while radio presenter Tony Blackburn said the singer was a "terrific artiste".

Little Richard, born Richard Penniman, sold more than 30 million records worldwide.

He even took to the stage at Gaumont Cinema, Bradford, in the 60s.

On his last visit, he stayed at the Victoria Hotel.

The singer, part of the Rock 'n' Roll hall of fame, inspired musicians such as The Beatles and Sir Elton John, even teaching Paul Mccartney how to do his famous scream.

Speaking in 2002, Little Richard said: "Paul (McCartney) would watch me every night when I was up on stage. Paul idolised me and admired my energy.

"The way you see Mick Jagger and Tina Turner walk all over the stage is what I used to do. That's where they all got it from."

His son, Danny Jones Penniman, told Rolling Stone magazine that the cause of his father's death is unknown.