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Woman Claims to Be Daughter of Louis Armstrong in Her New Book

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It's been widely believed that the late entertainer Louis Armstrong had no children, but one woman has come forward claiming she is his daughter, and she's written a book about her painful journey as a superstar's secret child.

Louis Armstrong was one of the nation's most beloved entertainers, but it was anything but a 'wonderful world' for a woman who claims to be his daughter, a painful secret and burden that she has carried for a lifetime until now.

"I was always told, 'For your safety, your father's a big man, so we have to keep this quiet,'" says Sharon Preston Folta, who bares her soul in her book "Little Satchmo," which is the nickname she says her dad gave her.

In her book, Preston-Folta explains how her widowed mother, Lucille Preston, had a 20-year affair with the famed trumpeter in the '50s and '60s while he was married to his fourth wife, also named Lucille.

"When he found out that she was pregnant with me, he was overjoyed and said, 'You know, I have no children,'" Preston-Folta says.

There is no DNA evidence linking Preston-Folta to Armstrong, but she has a treasure trove of letters that Armstrong allegedly wrote to his mistress confirming the pregnancy, including one dated November 11, 1954, where he wrote, "The baby must have my name...Oh, I'm so proud right now."

Sharon's birth certificate does not list a father, and she was given her mother's maiden name.

"People are doubting me and questioning me and fighting me as if I'm trying to take something from them," Preston-Folta says.

She also says there is proof that Louis Armstrong financially supported her and her mother until his death in 1971, but they were not invited to his star-studded funeral in New York.

"I didn't have closure," she says.

Closure came when Preston-Folta finally worked up the courage to visit his home in the Corona section of Queens, now a museum.

"The young man would talk about how Louis and Lucille would love the neighborhood children, but they never had any children of their own," she says. "And I'm standing right there."

Lucille Preston, now 92, stands by her daughter's story, and the family says they just want to be acknowledged.

"The story's not the prettiest story, and yes, there is some sadness in it, and it all needs to be told," Preston-Folta says.

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