Former teen hip-hop star Chris Kelly, who comprised one half of the rap group Kris Kross, has passed away at the age of 34.
The young rapper was rushed to an Atlanta area hospital on Wednesday after being found unresponsive at his home. According to the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office authorities are unsure of the cause of death and an autopsy has not yet been performed.
His mother, Donna Kelly Pratte, has released a statement saying, "It is with deep sadness that we announce that our beloved Chris Kelly has passed away on May 1. To millions of fans worldwide, he was the trendsetting, backwards pants-wearing one-half of Kris Kross who loved making music. But to us, he was just Chris - the kind, generous and fun-loving life of the party. Though he was only with us a short time, we feel blessed to have been able to share some incredible moments with him. His legacy will live on through his music, and we will forever love him."
Kelly rose to fame in the early 1990s with the mega-hit "Jump" alongside his childhood friend Chris Smith. In addition to their catchy debut single, the group became iconic with their trademark style of wearing their clothing backwards with scores of tweens around the world lining up to copy the trend.
With the news of his early death, Kelly joins a group of rappers who have gone too soon. Here are some of the rappers who have passed away at young ages:
Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes: Best known by her nickname, the young rapper hit super-stardom as part of the hip-hop trio TLC. As the group's in-house rapper, she contributed to their hit singles "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg," "No Scrubs" and "Waterfalls" and helped them become one of the biggest groups of the 1990s. Off-stage, she spent more than her share of time on the pages of the tabloids after burning down her boyfriend's Atlanta mansion. In 2002, she was killed in a car crash in Honduras.
Tupac Shakur: His life may have been brief, but the rapper made a lasting impact on R&B, which is still felt today. In the mid-1990s, Tupac rose to fame thanks to his socially-conscious lyrics focused on the realities of inner-city life. His words influenced a generation of future rappers. As of 2010, Shakur has sold over 75 million albums worldwide making him one of the bestselling music artists in the world. He was killed in September 1996 at the age of 25 after being shot multiple times in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas.
Notorious B.I.G.: Christopher Wallace was one of the superstars of rap in the mid-1990s when he rose to fame as the face of the East Coast hip hop scene. The release of his album "Ready to Die" in 1994 solidified his position at the top of the New York rap elite. Biggie became a key figure in the grow feud between the East Cost and West Coast hip hop communities. He was killed by an unknown assailant in a drive by shooting in Los Angeles on March 9, 1997.
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