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November 10, 2011  | by: Dania McDermott

Heavy D (1967-2011)

Rotund rap star Heavy D died Tuesday after fainting in his California home, according to published reports. The rapper was 44.

Said to have been battling pneumonia, the famously overweight star had apparently been experiencing difficulty breathing prior to the collapse, and it is believed that his death is purely the consequence of health-related issues.

Born Dwight Arrington Myers, Heavy D (& the Boyz) ushered a new brand of hip-hop to the scene in the late 80′s and early 90′s — a decidedly uptempo blend of rap, reggae, pop and R&B that became standard MTV-fare with hits like “Somebody For Me” and “Now That We Found Love.” His success with the Boyz lead to expanded creative outlets, such as an appearance on Michael Jackson’s “Jam,” and theme songs for sketch comedies, In Living Color and MADtv.

Proving the widespread appreciation for Heavy not only as an emcee, but as a personality, the rapper added the title of actor to his cred with several television appearances, including stints on critically acclaimed Roc, Queen Latifah’s Living Single, and HBO’s Tales From The Crypt. Later, in his most high profile casting, Heavy played “Peaches” in the Oscar-nominated film, The Cider House Rules (1999).

Having performed at the BET Awards in October — the rapper’s first time hitting the stage in 15 years — the once big-name seemed to be regaining his stride. In fact, given his small role in the just-released Eddie Murphy/Ben Stiller collaborative, Tower Heist, it’s likely that we would have seen much more of Heavy in the months to come. Sadly, this will not be the case.

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