“Rob & Big” reality TV star Christopher Boykin, best known by his nickname “Big Black,” died Tuesday, TMZ wrote in an exclusive report. He was 45 years old.

A cause of death was not immediately known, but it was suspected he died from a heart attack, sources connected to Big Black told TMZ. At the time the story broke, substance abuse was not to blame. Foul play was not suspected either.

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Big Black garnered fame on the show “Rob & Big,” where he essentially played Rob Dyrdek’s other half. He was his  bodyguard and best friend. Big Black was true to his name, standing at was 6-foot-6 and weighing 375 pounds.

While on “Rob & Big,” which lasted from 2006 to 2008, the friends got into some strange adventures. As TMZ noted, they would exercise in the house, had an ATM installed and tried to break world records. Their relationship became strained because of filming the reality show, but they were able to work things out.

Dyrdek talked about the split during a 2016 interview with Graham Bensinger during an episode of his talk show, “In Depth with Graham Bensinger.”

 

#tbt The Team.. Meaty,Mini G,Rob&Big Legendary....Rob&Big 06-08.....

A post shared by Christopher "Big Black" Boykin (@bigblack1972) on

“It was a strange period, because both me and him… I had been a pro skateboarder for years, so transitioning into mainstream fame was relatively smooth where for him it was the idea that he was working security two years earlier and now he’s on television. It was a much different dynamic, but I think we both struggled with… I didn’t want to be known as Rob from ‘Rob & Big ,’ and I think he didn’t want to be known as the sidekick. So that created a lot of that tension between me and him,” Dyrdek explained, according to People Magazine.

“I think it was more the fundamental struggle of wanting to not be so connected to each other,” Dyrdek added. “Ultimately, after we had a big blowout creatively over an idea … things were so tense at certain times — it’s funny now that I think about it — but we literally would film some of the funniest things that we have ever done and would be losing it and then walk away and not talk to each other. It was super, super bizarre.”

But they didn’t leave off with any hard feelings. Six weeks ago, Big Black took to Instagram to shared a throwback picture with his old friend. “ The Team.. Meaty, Mini G, Rob&Big Legendary....Rob&Big 06-08,” he wrote. The post was liked more than 36,000 times by his 906,000 followers.

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Dyrdek issued a statement about his friend Tuesday. “My heart is broken,” the former skater tweeted. “I don't want write this post. I don't want to believe that this is reality. I am so thankful for you. We truly were brothers that lived an unexpected unforgettable adventure. I just can't fathom that it would end so suddenly. You will forever be in my heart.”

Dyrdek also shared a photo of Big Black with his son, Kodah Dash Dyrdek. “I am so thankful for this moment... thank you for being an amazing human being and brother,” he captioned the photo of Big Black staring into his son's eyes. The post was liked more than 180,000 times by Dyrdek's 3.68 million followers. 

Rapper Chanel West Coast, who is one of the hosts on Dyrdek's new MTV show, “Ridiculousness,” took to Twitter. “RIP @BigBlack. My heart is crushed. I'll remember all the times you made me laugh and my prayers go out to your family,” she wrote, adding on Instagram: “I'll never forget all the times you made me laugh. So many epic memories with you. You put smiles on a lot of people's faces and you will be missed dearly by SO many. My prayers go out to your family and loved ones. Keep them laughing up in heaven.”

MTV issued a statement on Big Black’s death. “MTV is deeply saddened to learn the news of Christopher 'Big Black' Boykin's passing,” the network said in a statement Tuesday. “He was a long time and beloved member of the MTV family and will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends at this time.”

Of course, Big Black wasn’t always a reality star. Before his stint on MTV he served in the U.S. Navy for 9 years.

His 9-year-old daughter, Isis Rae Boykin, survives him.

At the time this article was written, Big Black’s family did not issue a statement.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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