Influential rapper Heavy D dead at 44

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Rap legend Heavy D died yesterday at age 44. The self-proclaimed overweight lover and eternal optimist collapsed outside of his home in Beverly Hills and died shortly after being rushed to the hospital.

Before collapsing, Heavy D was reportedly having problems breathing upon returning home from a shopping trip at around 11:30 a.m. He was conscious and speaking, but still having difficulty breathing, when paramedics arrived to take him to Cedars Sinai Medical Center. He died soon after.

Heavy D had been battling pneumonia and authorities say that may have been the cause of his sudden death. The official cause of death has yet to be discovered but Beverly Hills police didn’t find any indication of foul play in his home and believe his death to be medically related. Toxicology results will take nearly six weeks to come in and while authorities didn’t find any illegal drugs in his home, only prescription medication, it’s important to find out what was in his system.

Born in Jamaica in 1967, Heavy D (real name Dwight Arrington Meyers) was a rapper, actor, and record producer. He emerged in the 1990s as the frontman for Heavy D & the Boyz. With five records released, the hip-hop trio is best known for the single “Now That We Found Love.” Heavy D and his band mates G-Whiz, Trouble T. Roy, and Eddie F. also wrote and performed the theme song for the incredibly influential comedy series “In Living Color” and also that of fellow comedy series “MADtv.”

Performing on stage wasn’t his only talent; in the late 90s he scored many small film roles, including one in “The Cider House Rules.” Heavy D also appeared in many different TV shows, having a recurring character in “Living Single,” and appearing later in the popular show “Bones.” His most recent acting gig was in the new film “Tower Heist,” in theaters now, acting alongside Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy.

Towering at 6-foot-4 and over 300 pounds, Heavy D was one of those very rare rappers that never turned to negativity and violence to get recognition. To everyone he ever met, his message was always one of love and hope. Friends, colleagues, and fans have been overwhelmed with the sad news of his death, flooding their Twitter accounts with messages of love and respect for the man. LL Cool J posted a picture of himself with Heavy D, while others like Lenny Kravitz, Timbaland, and Flo Rida wrote words of condolences. Writer Jamilah Lemieux had this to say: “Few rappers have been so LOVING in their references to women as Heavy D. Maybe even less so today than ever. That made me love him.”

Heavy D had a Twitter page himself and his last message sums up his entire way of living and leaves us all with a poignant message from a man who will be missed: “BE INSPIRED!”

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