Little Richard was more than just a groundbreaking musician.
As Ava DuVernay mourned the death of the “Tutti Frutti” singer on Saturday, the director reflected on the extraordinary generosity he showed her when she was a college student.
“I served soul food brunch to Little Richard every Sunday for a year while waitressing at Aunt Kizzy’s Back Porch in LA,” the When They See Us creator, 47, wrote on Twitter.
“He tipped me a crisp $100 bill each week on a $75 breakfast with friends. This was 30 years ago. Helped me so much,” she added. “God rest his soul.”
Sharing a sweet story of their own, one of the filmmaker’s followers highlighted another example of Richard’s kindness.
“His mom lived in the beautiful house above my neighborhood in the 80s. Riverside, California. He took her for regular drives, up and down the neighborhood streets,” they wrote. “I always waved at the old lady in the back of the Rolls. My landlord told me to look at the chauffeur.”
In her own touching tribute, Cyndi Lauper mourned Richard not only as a rock and roll pioneer, but as the singer’s wedding officiant.
“So sad Little Richard passed away. He married my husband and I,”she wrote on social media. “He was really one of the truely [sic] great rock and roll singers and one of the rock and roll pioneers. He will be missed.”
The pop star tied the knot with actor David Thornton, 66, in 1991.
“The first words at the wedding were when Little Richard, who Cyndi had asked to marry us, tripped getting on to the podium,” Lauper previously told The Independent. “Everyone laughed and he looked up and said: ‘Shuurt-up.’ ”Cyndi Lauper✔@cyndilauper
Richard’s agent of 40 years, Dick Alen, confirmed the musician’s death to PEOPLE.
“Little Richard passed away this morning from bone cancer in Nashville. He was living with his brother in Nashville,” Alen told PEOPLE on Saturday.
“He was battling for a good while, many years. I last spoke to him about two or three weeks ago,” he added. “I knew he wasn’t well but he never really got into it, he just would say ‘I’m not well.’ He’s been suffering for many years with various aches and pains. He just wouldn’t talk about it much.”
Richard, whose hits include “Tutti Frutti,” “Long Tall Sally” and “Good Golly, Miss Molly,” was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.