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Remembering rapper Heavy D, dead at 44

File: Late recording artist Heavy D performs at the Bacardi
File: Late recording artist Heavy D performs at the Bacardi "Like It Live" Las Vegas event with Cee Lo Green, Travis Barker and Mix Master Mike at the Marquee Nightclub at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas June 15, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images for Bacardi

Rapper Heavy D died Tuesday in the emergency room at Cedars Sinai Medical Center. The self-named “overweight lover” was 44 years old; his last album was released just two months ago. Authorities say Heavy D collapsed outside his Beverly Hills home.

His given name was Dwight Arrington Myers. His family moved from Jamaica, where he was born, to New York City when he was a boy. If music lovers were still unsure about the hip-hop art form in the late 1980s, his group Heavy D and the Boyz did a lot to convince them that it had heft — and a future.

In 1991, the group released the third of seven albums, "Peaceful Journey," featuring the hit “Now That We Found Love," sampling the 1973 O'Jays song of the same name and adding rap to create a smash.

“Believe it or not, here comes a brother with flow/A snuggling, bubblin’, overweight lovin’ hugging pro/So what’s it gonna be: me or the TV? Let me take time to set your mind and your body free.”

Heavy D never won, but was nominated for four Grammys. He had 11 top 10 rap singles, five that made the top 10 of the R&B charts, and seven songs that showed up somewhere on the Hot 100. He also had seven albums that all hit the top 10 on the R&B charts.

Heavy D was heavy. He also was a dapper dresser who didn’t shy away from deft dancing in music videos.

He's the latest of several hefty rappers who've passed away at a young age, such as Big Pun and Buff Love from the Fat Boys, though his cause of death has yet to be determined. The rap world seems to accept large stars more than other genres, with many using it to their advantage and making it part of their persona and their rap monicker.

Heavy D also dabbled in acting. He worked on television shows and played small roles in the 1999 Oscar-Nominated film “The Cider House Rules” and the new movie “Tower Heist.”

- Brian Watt & Mike Roe