No cause of death has been released, but police are not treating his death as suspicious. There have been several reports that he may have been suffering from pneumonia. According to TMZ.com Heavy D collapsed with breathing difficulties following a shopping trip. His neighbor Adam Mills found him leaning against a railing, clearly in distress, saying "I can't breathe, I can't breathe."
Only a few hours before his death the Jamaica-born rapper, who grew up in New York, Tweeted a tribute to the late boxing great Joe Frazier -- "SMOKIN JOE FRAZIER..RIP.. truly one of the best heavyweight champs that ever lived.. GODS SPEED,MR FRAZIER!" -- and sent his fans a typically positive message: "BE INSPIRED!"
Born Dwight Arrington Myers in Jamaica in 1967, Heavy D found fame with his crew, Heavy D and The Boyz, with their debut album 'Living Large,' and went on to become one of the most influential rappers of the '80s and '90s. They scored worldwide success with their cover of the O'Jays hit, 'Now That We've Found Love' in 1991.
Heavy D appeared on Michael Jackson's 1991 song 'Jam,' and in one of his final public appearances he performed with La Toya Jackson at the October 8 Michael Jackson Tribute Concert in Cardiff, Wales. Last night she said "My heart goes out to the family and love ones of Heavy D I am sooo sorry for your lost. You will be in my prayers."
Although his most recent album, 'Opus,' was released in September, in recent years Heavy D's music career had taken a backseat to his burgeoning acting career. He had roles in movies 'The Cider House Rules' and 'Life' and can currently be seen in a cameo role in the new Eddie Murphy--Brett Ratner action movie 'Tower Heist.'
Heavy D also guest-starred on TV shows including 'Law & Order: SVU' and 'The Tracy Morgan Show,' and he landed a recurring role on Fox's high school drama 'Boston Public' from 2000 to 2003. He played compassionate guidance counselor Bob "Big Boy" Lick in 13 episodes. He also created the theme songs for sketch comedy shows 'In Living Color' and 'MADtv.'
Following Heavy D's untimely death his fellow rappers, musicians and actors took to Twitter to pay tribute. Ice T Tweeted that "Everyone should stop for a second..Take a breath and realize how lucky you are to be alive. Then appreciate every second with your luv ones."
MC Hammer said "We had a lot of great times touring together. He had a Heart of Gold. He was a part of what's good about the world."
Check out Heavy D performing at the 2011 BET Awards last month:
Take a trip down memory lane to the glory days of 'In Living Color':
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