Born Dwight Arrington Myers, the rapper/actor better known as Heavy D has passed away at the age of 44. He was rushed to a Los Angeles hospital earlier in the day, but the cause of death is unknown. One report indicates that he passed due to respiratory complications.

First appearing on the scene in the late 80s, Heavy D went onto become one of the most influential rappers of the 1990s. He led the hip-hop trio Heavy D & The Boyz from 1987 till 1994, releasing five albums and fourteen hit singles, including "Now That We Found Love" and "Nuttin' But Love", before going solo. He then went onto release four more albums on his own.

Heavy D made his mark on television in 1990, creating the theme song for the hit Fox series In Living Color with The Boyz. The trio also went onto create the theme song for Fox's MadTV in 1995. After appearing on both Michael Jackson's hit single Jam, as well as sister Janet Jackson's smash "Alright", Dwight Arrington Myers decided to try his hand at acting.

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The rapper made his small screen debut on the Richard Grieco led crime drama Booker, followed by an appearance on Tales from the Crypt, before taking on a recurring character on the college-set The Cosby Show spin-off A Different World. He also played recurring characters on the short-lived Fox sitcom Roc and the hit sitcom Living Single opposite fellow rapper Queen Latifah.

Heavy D made his big screen debut in the Oscar nominated drama The Cider House Rules, appearing opposite Tobey Maguire and Michael Caine. He also played memorable roles in the Tim Allen comedy Big Trouble and on the hit series Boston Public.

Most recently, the actor played Sid Shapiro on a number of Bones episodes. His final film, Tower Heist, opened this past weekend, in which he starred opposited Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy.

In October of this year, Heavy D performed live at the 2011 BET Hip Hop Awards. It was his first live performance in over fifteen years. You can watch the performance in the video below. The rapper's last tweet: "Be Inspired!", which is from earlier today, has caught on as a trending topic.

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B. Alan Orange