Little Richard performs during the annual PBS “A Capitol Fourth” concert at the US Capitol on July 3, 2011 in Washington, DC
*Rock ‘n’ roll legend Little Richard is on the mend after recently suffering a heart attack while at home with his family.
The singer, who turned 80 last year, reveals he was overcome with a coughing fit and started to feel a shooting pain in his arm – and it was only after self-medicating that he started to feel OK.
His doctor later advised him that he had suffered a heart attack, and revealed that he saved his own life with his actions immediately afterward.
During a chat with Cee Lo Green for a Recording Academy fundraiser in Georgia on Sunday, he explained, “The other night, I didn’t know I was having a heart attack. 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. Jesus had something for me. He brought me through.”
The veteran entertainer has stepped away from performing since almost collapsing on stage during a gig in Washington, D.C. last summer.
*James Gandolfini, the actor who made Tony Soprano a household name, is reported to be dead of a possible heart attack in Rome. He was 51.
A spokeswoman for the HBO, the cable network that aired “The Sopranos,” the show that Gandolfini starred in said the burly actor was on holiday in Italy.
“We’re all in shock and feeling immeasurable sadness at the loss of a beloved member of our family,” HBO said in a statement. “He was special man, a great talent, but more importantly a gentle and loving person who treated everyone no matter their title or position with equal respect. He touched so many of us over the years with his humor, his warmth and his humility. Our hearts go out to his wife and children during this terrible time. He will be deeply missed by all of us.”
Gandolfini, had recently filmed “Criminal Justice” for HBO, which had received a limited series order.
As Tony Soprano, James Gandolfini won three Emmys playing a mob boss beset with issues caused by his mother. The actor specialized in playing brusque, intimidating guys whose big frames concealed generous hearts.
*Famed folk singer Richie Havens, the opening act at the 1969 Woodstock music festival, died Monday of a sudden heart attack, his publicist said. He was 72.
Havens, who retired three years ago, toured for more than 30 years and recorded 30 albums.
He once told Billboard that his breakthrough at Woodstock came after another artist’s equipment got stuck in traffic. He was supposed to be the fifth act.
“It was 5 o’clock and nothing was happening yet,” Havens said. “I had the least instruments (to set up on stage) and the least people (in his band).” So Havens went on and performed for 40 minutes, as planned. Organizers asked him to do four more songs.
“I went back and did that, then it was, ‘Four more songs…’ and that kept happening ’til two hours and 45 minutes later, I had sung every song I know,” he said.
Havens, a Brooklyn, New York, native, told CNN in 1999 that music enabled him to leave his rough neighborhood to head to Greenwich Village and the music scene there.
“I believe I inherited my sense of music from my father. My father was an ear piano player; he could just hear something and play it,” he recalls. “I came up in Brooklyn singing doo-wop music from the time I was 13 to the time I was 20. That music served a purpose of keeping a lot of people out of trouble, and also it was a passport from one neighborhood to another.”
His inspiration for songs about social change and protest came when he heard artists like Fred Neil, Dino Valenti and Tom Paxton. That’s when he knew what he wanted to do with his life.
“It was the songs that actually changed my life,” he says. “The songs that I heard were so much different than the doo-wop kind of thing. They were just so powerful. Finally I decided, ‘I’ve got to do this.’”
Before Woodstock, his nights were filled with playing as often as possible to make a few dollars.
“We played three coffeehouses a night, 14 sets a night, 20-minute sets, pass the basket, stay alive,” he told CNN. “I was there seven and a half years, every day. It was the most incredibly magic, magic time.”
After Havens gained attention at Woodstock, he recorded a soulful-voiced cover of the Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun,” which rose on the pop charts in 1970.
“While his family greatly appreciates that Richie’s many fans are also mourning this loss, they do ask for privacy during this difficult time,” a statement from his publicist, Carrie Lombardi, said. “A public memorial will be planned for a later date.”
Havens is survived by three daughters, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
According to TMZ.com, one of the contributing factors to his death was severe lack of oxygen to his brain. Other underlying causes were an irregular heartbeat and acute myocardial infarction, more commonly known as a heart attack..
Duncan died Sept. 3 at 54, having never fully recovered from a heart attack in July.
On Monday, friends and family attended a special service in Los Angeles for “The Green Mile” star.
NBC Los Angeles affiliate Channel 4 reports that Sunday’s four-hour tribute at Forest Lawn in the Hollywood Hills also featured speeches from Duncan friends and a slideshow, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Private services are being held today on the Forest Lawn grounds with Duncan’s fiance, Omarosa Manigault, expected to attend along with celebrity guests, Channel 4 reported.
Duncan, who was 54, died in Los Angeles Sept. 3 from natural causes, two months after suffering a heart attack.
“Michael Clarke Duncan suffered a myocardial infarction the morning of Friday, July 13 and was stabilized soon thereafter,” read the statement to ETonline. “He was just moved from the Intensive Care Unit, but remains hospitalized. His family are firm believers in the power of prayer and have asked that you keep him in yours during this time. Thank you.”
Duncan’s girlfriend Omarosa Stallworth initially saved the actor’s life by resuscitating him via CPR when she found him in a state of cardiac arrest at his Los Angeles home.
Duncan recently starred in the FOX series “The Finder.” He also starred in “The Green Lantern.”