Gil Scott-Heron dies aged 62

Public Enemy's Chuck D leads tributes to 'Godfather Of Hip-Hop'

Gil Scott-Heron has died at the age of 62. The cause of his death is still unclear.

The influential musician and poet – often given a ‘Godfather Of Hip-Hop’ nickname he rejected – passed away in New York‘s St Luke’s Hospital yesterday (May 27), reports BBC News.

It is believed that Scott-Heron fell ill after returning from a trip to Europe.


After starting his recording career in 1970, his output spanned soul, jazz, blues and the spoken word.

His work had a strong political element. ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’, perhaps his best-known track, critiqued the mass media of the 1970s.

He was one of the first artists to use his music to speak out about the apartheid in South Africa, some time before the issue became the focus of a popular global campaign.

Scott-Heron went on to influence generations of musicians, both inside and outside hip-hop.

Kanye West heavily sampled Scott-Heron‘s spoken word pieces on last year’s ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ album.


Scott-Heron‘s returned with ‘I’m New Here’, his first studio LP in 16 years, in 2010.

The album was reworked with The xx‘s Jamie xx (pictured right) into a remix album, ‘We’re New Here’, which was released last February.

Public Enemy‘s Chuck D has been among those paying tribute to Scott-Heron, taking to his Twitter account to say: “RIP GSH..and we do what we do and how we do because of you. And to those that don’t know tip your hat with a hand over your heart & recognize.”

He added that he had already collaborated with Scott-Heron on his next album, tweeting: “Quite stunned at the fact I just wrote and recorded guest vocals on one of his next albums.This makes one realize that time is precious, damn.”

New York rapper Talib Kweli also had his say, tweeting from “Wow. The rest of my night I’m gonna listen to Gil Scott-Heron. We love you brother. We will miss you. RIP.”

Gil Scott-Heron remembered