Heavy D dead at 44; 'the only rapper everybody always loved'
Hip-hop artist Heavy D died Tuesday after collapsing outside his condo in Beverly Hills, and as the music community and other fans offered condolences, an autopsy was on tap to pin down the 44-year-old's cause of death.
Power producer Russell Simmons on Wednesday remembered his friend, saying in part on the Global Grind, "Rest in peace Heavy, you were the only rapper everybody always loved. You never rapped a mean word about anybody ... you only spread love. You were truly the overweight lover. You will be greatly, greatly missed."
Heavy D, real name Dwight Arrington Myers, had trouble breathing when he arrived home after a shopping trip, L.A. Now reported. He was conscious when authorities arrived, but died later at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Authorities said that he may have died from complications of pneumonia, with a source telling The Times' Andrew Blankstein the rapper had seen a doctor for a cough in recent days.
Toxicology test results related to autopsy will likely come in six weeks, coroner's spokesman Ed Winter said. Though no illegal drugs were found at Myers' condo, he had been prescribed medication recently and "We need to see what's in his system," Winter said.
Beverly Hills police said in a statement that "there are no obvious signs of foul play, and at this time his death is believed to be medically related." Heavy D, who was 6-foot-4, weighed more than 300 pounds when he died, TMZ reported.
News reached the Twittersphere via Grand Master Flash, who wrote "I was just told Heavy D passed away." LL Cool J on Wednesday posted a picture of himself, Simmons and Jalil of Whodini with Myers, when they were "still teenagers on the grind." Lenny Kravitz, Timbaland, Rob Thomas, Flo Rida, MC Hammer and Kerry Washington were only a few of the celebs noting Heavy D's passing.
The Ministry also liked this tweet, from writer Jamilah Lemieux: "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."
Pop & Hiss has a rundown on Heavy's claims to fame, which began in the 1980s when he headed up hip-hop group Heavy D & the Boyz and later included the song "Now That We Found Love" (hear it below) and, recently, an appearance in the new Brett Ratner film "Tower Heist." He also wrote the theme songs to "MADtv" and "In Living Color," and performed at the Michael Jackson tribute concert in the UK in October.
Heavy D's last message on Twitter? "BE INSPIRED."
-- Christie D'Zurilla and Matt Donnelly
Photo: Heavy D, real name Dwight Arrington Myers, performs at the BET Hip Hop Awards in Atlanta on Oct. 1. Credit: David Goldman / Associated Press