OL’ DIRTY BASTARD has collapsed and died inside of a NEW YORK recording studio, aged 35.
The rapper – real name Russell Jones – had complained of chest pains before collapsing at the Manhattan studio yesterday (November 13), according to a statement from his label, Roc-A-Fella Records.
Paramedics were called but were unable to save him. A label spokesperson said the cause of death was unknown.
Jones was a founding member of the Wu-Tang Clan and was also a successful solo artist, best known for his 1999 hit ’Got Your Money’.
Roc-A-Fella CEO, Damon Dash said: “All of us in the Roc-A-Fella family are shocked and saddened by the sudden and tragic death of our brother and friend, Russell Jones, Ol’ Dirty Bastard.”
”Russell inspired all of us with his spirit, wit and tremendous heart. He will be missed dearly, and our thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences go out to his wonderful family. The world has lost a great talent, but we mourn the loss of our friend,” he added.
During a controversial career, the rapper stormed the stage at the Grammy Awards in February 1998 and hijacked the microphone from singer Shawn Colvin as she accepted an award. He was apparently upset after losing the best rap album Grammy to Puff Daddy.
Later that year, he was wounded in a shooting during a robbery in his apartment.
Jones was arrested in 1999 for possession of crack cocaine. He reportedly asked the police to “make the rocks disappear” because it would hurt his standing as a role model.
Jones was sentenced in 2001 to two to four years in prison for drug possession plus two concurrent years for escaping from a rehab clinic. Following his release in 2003, he immediately signed to Roc-A-Fella and had been working on a new album.
In a statement, his mother Cherry Jones said: “To the public he was known as Ol’ Dirty Bastard but to me he was known as Rusty. The kindest most generous soul on earth. I appreciate all of the support and prayers that I have received. Russell was more than a rapper he was a loving father, brother, uncle and most of all son.”
According to Blender magazine, Jones fathered 13 children.
Wu-Tang Clan reformed this summer for a show which marked the first time the group had played with all of its main members in 10 years.
Jones would have turned 36 tomorrow (November 15).