Heavy D, Hip-Hop Pioneer and Actor, Dead at 44

Jamaican-born hip-hop legend, actor, and father Heavy D died in Los Angeles on Tuesday evening. He was 44.

On Monday, the singer collapsed at his Beverly Hills home. He was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where he later died, according to the Los Angeles County coroner's office.

No foul play is suspected and his death appears to be "medically-related", according to police.

Born Dwight Arrington Myers in Jamaica on May 24, 1967, to Euhlalee Lee and Clifford Vincent Myers, he immigrated to Mount Vernon, New York, with his family as a young boy.

In 1986, Myers became Heavy D, leader of the band Heavy D and the Boyz, signing with influential record lable Uptown Records -- later becoming its president -- and recording the group's debut album, Living Large, in 1987. Heavy D and the Boyz went on to record four more albums after that, three of which went platinum.

Myers gained more notoriety after recording the television theme songs for In Living Color and MADtv, and performing the rap on Michael Jackson's hit single "Jam" as well as with Janet Jackson's "Alright." In 1997, Myers collaborated with blues legend B.B. King on duets album Dueces Wild, rapping to the song "Keep It Coming."

In the '90s, Myers moved on to acting, appearing on television shows such as Roc, starring with Charles Dutton, Living Single, and Law & Order. His acting resume also includes movies such as The Cider House Rules. And alongside Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller, Myers's latest movie was Tower Heist, which was released last week.

Myers continued to make music throughout his career, recording a reggae-inspired album in 2008 titled Vibes. He also performed as a rapper at the 2011 BET Hip-Hop Awards last summer

Myers's last tweet was, "BE INSPIRED!"

He is survived by his daughter, Xea.

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David Minsky is a U.S. Navy veteran and Tulane graduate who has experience reporting on stories from California, South Florida, and the Deep South. He has also won some journalism awards. Email or tweet David with story tips and ideas.
Contact: David Minsky

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