Funeral arrangements are pending and remembrances are being planned in both Los Angeles and New York for influential rapper Heavy D. The entertainer died Tuesday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after he was found struggling to breathe in the hallway of a Beverly Hills apartment complex. He was 44.
Beverly Hills police Lt. Mark Rosen said police were called to the 400 block of North Maple Drive at 11:25 a.m. on a report of a man who had collapsed in the walkway of a building. The man was found conscious but struggling to breathe.
He was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Rosen said.
Rosen said Heavy D–whose real name was Dwight Arrington Myers–was returning home from shopping when he experienced difficulty breathing. Workers at the complex helped him to his apartment, where he collapsed, he said.
“There are no obvious signs of foul play, and at this time his death is believed to be medically related,” Rosen said. The coroner’s office will determine the exact cause of death.
A Jamaican American who, with his parents and five siblings moved to Mt. Vernon, N.Y., when he was a child, Heavy D rose to fame in the 1980s and 1990s with Heavy D & the Boyz. (The group included childhood friends Eddie F. (Edward Ferrel), G-Whiz (Glen Parrish) and Trouble T-Roy (Troy Dixon).
Signed to Uptown Records, the group’s 1987 debut, “Living Large” hit No. 10 on the Billboard R & B/ Hip Hop albums chart. Their 1988 disc “Big Tyme” went platinum and yielded three additional hits. In 1992, he would become president and CEO of the label.
In October, he appeared at the BET Hip Hop Awards, performing a medley of his hits, including “”Nuttin’ But Love,” “”I Want Somebody” an”d “Now That We Found Love.” A conscious rapper, Heavy D once said he liked to rap about sexism, paying tribute to Black women and raising the consciousness level of ghetto youth.
He also gained fame for performing the theme song for the show “In Living Color.” He also performed the rap portion of Michael Jackson’s single “Jam.”
An actor and record producer, the rapper also had a successful string of appearances on television and in films, including “”Life,” “Big Trouble” “and “The Cider House Rules. “He has a cameo role in the current film “Tower Heist.”