I hadn’t realized she had multiple myeloma until reading the article. I’m amazed that she could manage to get on stage at all.
The symphony did not provide a cause of death. Little had not been feeling well. She’s been undergoing chemotherapy for multiple myeloma, had missed the orchestra’s April concert in Carnegie Hall in New York, and told Russell Williamson, the ASO’s senior orchestra manager, during intermission at Saturday night’s concert that she felt weak and woozy. That night, violinist Ellie Kosek asked Little to call when she got home safely, which she did.
Little was not a physically imposing figure. She weighed 98 pounds and had battled through, in addition to the myeloma, a broken shoulder, elbow and pelvis in recent years. Last August, she fell and cracked her vertebra, leaving her unable to play.
But in February, after months of rehabilitation, Little took to the stage and passed the record set by Frances Darger, the Utah Symphony violinist who had retired in 2012 after 70 years of playing. Little took pride in her feat.
“I’d thumb through the Guinness book and say, ‘Wouldn’t it be neat?’” Little told The Post in February. “A lot of people do crazy things like sitting on a flagpole for three days. I just kept on. It was just me and the lady in Utah. So finally, I said, ‘I’m going to do this.’”
Though frail and injury-prone, the prospect of setting the record seemed to have helped keep her going, albeit not for every ASO concert. “I was competing with this woman out in Utah, who played 70 years, 69 of them with the Utah Symphony,” she told Atlanta Magazine. “When I heard she was retiring, I said, ‘I’m going for it.’”