Mobb Deep
Prodigy, one half of Mobb Deep, shown performing at VH1’s “The Breaks” premiere on Feb. 15, 2017, in New York City, has died. Getty Images

The music industry said goodbye to a legend on Tuesday. Rapper Prodigy, one of two members of New York City hip-hop group Mobb Deep, has been confirmed dead. He was 42.

According to a statement from Mobb Deep’s reps, Prodigy (born Albert Johnson) was hospitalized in Las Vegas days before his death. At the time, he was suffering from complications caused by his battle with sickle cell anemia. It’s unclear whether the disease, which he’d been diagnosed with at birth, is to blame.

“It is with extreme sadness and disbelief that we confirm the death of our dear friend Albert Johnson, better known to millions of fans as Prodigy of legendary NY rap duo Mobb Deep,” the statement read (via Rolling Stone). “Prodigy was hospitalized a few days ago in Vegas after a Mobb Deep performance for complications caused by a sickle cell anemia crisis. As most of his fans know, Prodigy battled the disease since birth. The exact causes of death have yet to be determined. We would like to thank everyone for respecting the family’s privacy at this time.”

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Prodigy had been in Las Vegas to perform with the “Art of Rap” tour, according to TMZ. He was joined by the likes of Ghostface Killah, Onyx, KRS-One, Ice-T and more. He and Havoc took the stage Saturday night, after which he was apparently hospitalized.

Fans have taken to social media to express their deep sadness over Prodigy’s death. Celebrities also joined in, many hoping that rumors of his death were merely a hoax. Royce Da 59, Lil Wayne, ASAP Rocky, Shaquille O’Neil and more shared their condolences on Twitter alongside heartbroken hip-hop fans.

Havoc, who had a brief falling out with Prodigy in 2012 only to later reconcile, memorialized his friend and fellow rapper on Instagram. He shared two photos, the first of the two of them in what appears to be a studio with the caption, “Forever.” The second was simply a photo of the rapper with no words.

Rumors first began swirling about Prodigy’s death after a post appeared on Nas’ Instagram page. The rapper shared a photo of Prodigy, writing “RIP” in the caption. He said nothing more on the matter, which left fans wondering whether he had confirmed the death or been hacked and used to spread a false story. The news has since been confirmed.

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Prodigy’s roots in hip-hop run deep. After forming Mobb Deep with Havoc in 1992, he was forced to disappear for a while to serve time behind bars. He was released and got to work on several projects, including “My Infamous Life: The Autobiography of Mobb Deep’s Prodigy” and, more recently, “Commissary Kitchen.”

The book reportedly details Prodigy’s quest to be healthier, which he began while doing time. The rapper had been fixated on food, trying to watch what he consumed in the hopes of controlling his sickle cell anemia. “Commissary Kitchen” is banned in several prisons in California.

The rapper was open with fans about his struggles with sickle cell anemia. The disease is described as a group of inherited red blood cell disorders. Those suffering with the disease may experience severe pain without warning, organ damage and even stroke.

It’s unclear at this time what symptoms Prodigy was experiencing prior to his death. No information about his funeral arrangements have been made public at this time. Stay tuned for updates.