Rapper Big Pokey has died at the age of 45 after collapsing on stage in Texas in the US.
The artist, real name Milton Powell, passed away on Sunday (US time), according to a post on his verified Instagram account.
“It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing of our beloved Milton ‘Big Pokey’ Powell,” the post reads.
“He was well loved by his family, friends and loyal fans. In the coming days, we will release information about his celebration of life and how the public can pay their respects.
“We ask that you respect his family and their privacy during this difficult time,” it continues.
“Big Pokey will forever be ‘The Hardest Pit in the Litter,’” it adds, referencing the title of his debut album, which was released in 1999.
A video posted on Twitter showed Big Pokey collapsing backward while holding a microphone at a bar in Beaumount, Texas on Saturday.
The rapper hailed from the city of Houston, Texas and was a member of the Screwed Up Click rap collective.
Mayor of Houston Sylvester Turner said in a post on Twitter that his “presence was larger than life in helping to catapult our hip hop scene nationally.”
“The City of Houston and I extend our prayers and condolences to our own Screwed Up Click legendary rapper #BigPokey family and friends,” Sylvester wrote.
And fellow Screwed Up Click member Bun B paid tribute on Instagram.
“I wasn’t ready for this. One of the most naturally talented artists in the city. Low key, humble mountain of a man who moved with honor and respect,” wrote Bun B.
“He was easy to love and hard to hate. He’d pull up, do what he had to do and head home. One of the pillars of our city. If heart of gold was a person.”