Prodigy, the rapper who made up half of New York rap duo Mobb Deep, has died. He was 42.
Prodigy’s publicist confirmed his passing to MTV News on Tuesday (June 20). “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 read. “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.”
Born Albert Johnson in Hempstead, New York, Prodigy formed Mobb Deep in Queensbridge with rapper-producer Havoc in the early ’90s. The pair’s debut album, Juvenile Hell, came out in 1993 when they were both teenagers, and they would go on to release the critically acclaimed albums The Infamous and Hell on Earth. Alongside Nas and Wu-Tang Clan, Mobb Deep were key contributors to the sound of hardcore East Coast hip-hop during the ’90s.
After a hiatus beginning in 2012, Mobb Deep regrouped and released a new album, The Infamous Mobb Deep, in 2014. They had performed this past weekend at the Art of Rap Tour in Las Vegas.
Havoc shared a touching tribute to Prodigy on Instagram, publishing a photo of the two of them from early in their career with the caption reading just “Forever.”