Prodigy, the rapper best known for his work as one half of the hip hop duo Mobb Deep, has passed away at the age of 42.
Though no cause of death has been reported, the hip hop icon’s passing is believed to be related to his long battle with sickle cell anemia.
A statement issued by Mobb Deep’s publicist reports that Prodigy was hospitalized “a few days ago in Vegas after a Mobb Deep performance for complications caused by a sickle cell anemia crisis.”
The representative added:
“As most of his fans know, Prodigy battled the disease since birth.”
The day before his death, Prodigy (born Albert Johnson) was in Las Vegas performing with The Art of Rap tour, alongside such artists as Ghostface Killah, Onyx, KRS-One, Ice-T.
Along with fellow Queensbridge Housing Project resident Havoc (born Kejuan Muchita,) Prodigy formed Mobb Deep in 1992.
The group has long held a position of great esteem amongst hip hop fans and critics, and Prodigy was widely considered to be one of the most gifted technical rappers of the ’90s and early 2000s.
Mobb Deep quikly found mainstream success with hits such as “Shook Ones” and “The Quiet Storm.”
Following a public feud, Johnson and Muchita went their separate ways in 2012, but reunited a year later and embarked on a number of successful tours in the years that followed.
Considered a rap pioneer for his work alongside Havoc in the early ’90s, Prodigy is often cited as a major influence by such modern-day rappers as Eminem and 50 Cent.
The group signed to 50’s G-Unit production company in 2005 and began collaborating with the label’s roster of well-known rappers.
The back-to-back albums The Infamous and Hell On Earth were both tremendously successful both commercially and critically.
Around the time of those albums, Prodigy and Havoc became embroiled in the East Coast-West Coast hip hop feuds that claimed the lives of both Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G.
Prodigy was imprisoned for three years for weapons possession, and released an autobiography shortly after his 2011 release.
Tributes to Prodigy from friends, fans, and the many famous rappers he influenced have made the late emcee a worldwide trending topic on social media.