Rapper Heavy D, born Dwight Arrington Myers, died today at a Los Angeles hospital, BET.com confirms. He was 44 years old.
According to TMZ reports, Heavy D had just returned from shopping and climbed a set of stairs up to his Beverly Hills home when he experienced difficulty breathing. Adam Mills, a designer who was in the area and knew the rapper, found Heavy D leaning against the stair railing. Mills cradled him in his lap as others called 911 around 11:25 A.M. Heavy was reportedly conscious and speaking when help arrived. He died shortly after that, around 1 P.M.
According to Susan Anderson, who spoke with Ebony on behalf of Heavy D's "longtime manager and friend" Jeff Christie, the rapper called Christie complaining he didn't feel well before collapsing in his home and being rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He had been traveling for five or six weeks.
“We do not have all the details,” Anderson says. “Heavy did call Jeff this morning and told Jeff he was not feeling well and that he had walking pneumonia and bronchitis. And that is what we know. He did call for an ambulance. They were not able to revive him. Heavy had just returned from England from the Wales concert where he and Jeff had gone directly after the BET Awards last month.”
Heavy D was known for several hits including "Now That We Found Love," rapping on Michael Jackson's 1991 hit "Jam," and for writing and performing the theme song for In Living Color. He recently performed at the Michael Jackson Tribute Concert in Wales and served as the closing act for the BET Hip Hop Awards. He also had cameo appearances on a September episode of Law & Order and on the big screen as a courthouse guard in the new movie Tower Heist.
Heavy D also had plans to put out another album and had released new music on iTunes in recent months. His last CD, Love Opus, was released in September.
“We were actively speaking with different bookers,” Anderson says. “He was going to be back. He planned to perform and just released new music on iTunes. This was going to be his resurgence after 15 years.”
Eddie F, co-founder of the 1990's hip hop group Heavy D & the Boyz, took to Facebook to express his condolences and share happy moments with the rapper.
"We always had so much fun as a group. We were only young kids out of high school when we got into the game just wanting to make fun music filled with love and excitement," Eddie F says. "I will miss my brother Heavy so much and I cherish all the happy times we had together while unknowingly helping to build the movement and legacy we call Uptown Records. I can see him and T-Roy clowning right now and smiling down on us sitting on a cloud. I love you, Hev, and we all will miss you so much."
Heavy D's last tweet simply stated, "Be inspired!"