Albert “Prodigy” Johnson, one-half of rap group Mobb Deep, died in Las Vegas on Tuesday at the age of 42, XXL confirmed.
After being admitted into a hospital following a performance, the rapper lost his battle to sickle cell anemia, his publicist told the publication:
“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. Prodigy was hospitalized a few days ago in Vegas after a Mobb Deep performance for complications caused by a sickle cell anemia crisis. 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 New York City native performed Saturday with his partner, Havoc, as a part of the “Art of Rap” tour, along with Ghostface Killah, Onyx, KRS-One and Ice-T, among others.
Prodigy and Havoc co-founded their legendary group in the early 1990s and were best known for their hits “Shook Ones” and “Quiet Storm.” They released their most recent album, “The Infamous Mobb Deep,” in 2014.
Nas, Questlove, Russell Simmons, Q-Tip, Method Man, Nicki Minaj and other members of the hip-hop community honored the late, great wordsmith on social media.
Sickle cell anemia is a disease that causes red blood cells to change shape, blocking proper blood flow and oxygen throughout the body. It overwhelmingly affects black people, occurring among about 1 out of every 365 births, according to the Center for Disease Control. Monday, the day before Prodigy’s death, was Sickle Cell Awareness Day.