Revered Houston rapper Big Pokey collapsed on stage while performing Saturday night and was pronounced dead Sunday.
Big Pokey, whose legal name was Milton Powell, was 45. His official cause of death was not immediately released.
Footage shows the 45-year-old starting to gasp while rapping at the Pour 09 Bar, before falling back on the stage.
Big was taken to a hospital after paramedics tried to perform CPR. Authorities have confirmed that he died soon after collapsing. His cause of death has yet to be revealed.
“It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing of our beloved Milton ‘Big Pokey’ Powell. Big Pokey passed away on June 18, 2023,”
According to post on his verified account
“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.
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.”
“I wasn’t ready for this,” Big Pokey’s friend and fellow Houston rapper Bun B wrote on Instagram. “One of the most naturally talented artists in the city. Low key, humble mountain of a man who moved with honor and respect. He was easy to love and hard to hate.”
“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.”