LONDON: Rapper Prodigy, one half of the hip-hop duo Mobb Deep, has died at the age of 42.
The news of his death was confirmed by his publicist in a statement, which read, “It is with extreme sadness and disbelief that we confirm the death of our dear friend Albert Johnson, better known to millions of fans as Prodigy of legendary NY rap duo Mobb Deep.”
The statement also noted that the ‘Saga’ hit-maker was hospitalized a few days ago in Vegas after a Mobb Deep performance for complications caused by a sickle cell anemia crisis.
The statement continued, “As most of his fans know, Prodigy battled the disease since birth. The exact causes of death have yet to be determined. We would like to thank everyone for respecting the family’s privacy at this time.”
The artist suffered from health issues throughout his life.
Prodigy first broke out onto the music scene with his partner, Havoc, forming Mobb Deep in their hometown New York City in the 1990s.
The duo participated in high profile feuds during their early years, and once had "beef" during the media-fueled East Coast-West Coast hip hop rivalry with Tupac and Biggie Smalls.
Prodigy launched a solo career in 2000, releasing mix-tapes in collaboration with a range of producers including Un Pacino, Big Twins, and the Alchemist.
Prodigy spent most of a three and a half year sentence in a medium-security dorm at the Mid-State Correctional Facility in New York State after agreeing to a plea deal over weapons charges in 2007.
Fellow musicians such as Nicki Minaj and Nas offered their condolences over social media.
He released his last album, 'Hegelian Dialectic', in January.