Jamaican-born American rapper Heavy D has died at age 44 from what is believed to have been either pneumonia or a heart attack.
One of the most influential artists in the 90s, Heavy D had gone shopping Tuesday, and after mounting a flight of stairs with bags in tow began having trouble breathing.
A neighbor in the same building, designer Adam Mills found the rapper – also known as Dwight Arrington Myers – in distress gasping: “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.”
According to TMZ, Mills reportedly cradled Heavy D in his lap while others dialed 911. Upon arriving at a Los Angeles hospital the rapper still had a pulse, and people in his building believe he suffered a heart attack.
Law enforcement agents said that no foul play was involved in Heavy D’s death and that it was caused by “medical” reasons.
The rap artist was six feet and three inches tall and weighed over 300 pounds. He referred to himself as the “Overweight Lover,” according to the Los Angeles Times. However, Heavy D had slimmed down in recent years.
Heralded as the “Barry White” of rap music, Heavy D sang radio-friendly, profanity-free lyrics – with hits such as “Mr. Big Stuff” and “Big Daddy.”
He was well known for singing the theme song for the 90s hit sitcom “In Living Color.” Heavy D, also an actor, appeared in the off-Broadway play “Riff Raff” in 1995 and in the 2011 film “Tower Heist.”
In the song “Juicy,” by the late rapper Notorious B.I.G., Heavy D was mentioned in a lyric. The famous rapper sang, “I used to read Word Up magazine/Salt’m’Pepa and Heavy D up in the limousine/Hangin’ pictures on my wall/every Saturday Rap Attack, Mr. Magic, Markey Marl.”
In September, Heavy D digitally released his ninth and final album Love Opus. The rapper is survived by his daughter.