Rap star Heavy D has died in Los Angeles after being found unconscious near his house, according to reports.
The 44-year-old musician – whose real name was Dwight Arrington Myers – was reportedly rushed to hospital shortly before midday.
Celebrity gossip site TMZ said he was found on a walkway and emergency services called at 11.25am.
It said the rapper regained consciousness and was then taken to hospital, however his condition deteriorated and he was pronounced dead at 1pm.
According to TMZ police are investigating the death although there are no obvious signs of foul play.
US music site Billboard.com said the rapper’s sheer physical size and crossover success helped make him a major rap star in the 1990s.
Grandmaster Flash was reportedly instrumental in relaying the news of Heavy D’s death.
He tweeted: “I was just told Heavy D passed away.”
The message caused an avalanche of messages from Heavy D fans around the world.
Heavy D last tweeted just hours beforehand, as a mark of respect to the late boxing legend Joe Frazier.
“SMOKIN JOE FRAZIER..RIP.. truly one of the best heavyweight champs that ever lived.. GODS SPEED, MR FRAZIER!” the rapper tweeted.
An hour later Jamaica-born Heavy D tweeted his final message: “BE INSPIRED!.”
His rap group Heavy D & the Boyz was the first group signed to the Uptown Records label