Ty Chijioke, an acclaimed rapper, has died after being hospitalized with COVID-19 complications, HuffPost UK understands.
The Brixton-based artist, 47, was an influential figure on the UK music scene, releasing four successful albums, and gaining a Mercury Music Prize nomination in 2004.
His death comes after the hip-hop MC, born Ben Chijioke, was admitted into hospital with medical complications related to COVID-19 and placed into a medically-induced coma.
According to an update on April 19, 2020, Ty was moved out of the intensive care unit and onto a ward while continuing to recover.
Speaking to HuffPost UK, broadcaster and friend Jasmine Dotiwala paid tribute to the late rapper.
“Ty is a UK hip-hop legend that has championed the culture in all its many forms across many decades. He’s one of the torch bearers and flagstone icons of the culture who created his own music but also championed so many others,” she said.
“He always had time for everyone and was as serious as he could be funny but he was hilarious when he was ready to have a laugh and a joke about something.
“Ty was a very deep spiritual brother, he was private but he publicly loved and supported everyone and we shall always remember him and celebrate him.”
She added: “And when all of this is over when we are able to go out and be free again, we will celebrate him with the biggest celebration and make sure that people don’t forget him, we will play his music loudly and walk through the streets rapping along with him. I hope he’s resting in peace.”
Shortly after his hospitalization, a fundraiser was set up for the rapper by his close friend, Diane Laidlaw, while he battled for his life.
“Ty has been a beacon in helping the community, now he needs the community to be a beacon for him,” the GoFundMe page read.
“Ty (…) would give you his last penny if he had it to give. Always donating his time and energy to anyone that needs it. I can often hear him say ‘Let’s make this happen’. The original witty joker who would always make you laugh with his facial expressions and undercover sarcasm.
“He would be that friend that you can rant to without judgment. Always giving BUT always been afraid to ask for help.”