Chris Kelly, the rapper who shot to fame as one half of Atlanta rap duo, Kriss Kross has died, he was 34. Kelly was found unresponsive at his home yesterday (May 1st) and taken to the Atlanta Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy is due to be undertaken today. A rep with the Fulton County Police Department told CBS Atlanta that it appears he died of a drug overdose.
Kelly’s mother and The So So Def Family released a joint 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 trend-setting, 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.”
Radio host and friend, Greg Street of V-103 broke the news of Chris’ passing via Twitter, “Around 7:45 I received a phone call from his cousin saying they had found Kelly at the house just 20 minutes earlier, and he was unresponsive. I just received confirmation that he has passed.”
The timings seem to be slightly confused somewhere, as Akini Jeffrey, producer of 94.5?s Streetz Morning Grind revealed how he spoke to Kelly on the morning of his death, “I was extremely shocked to hear of his passing because I actually called him this morning at the radio station around 7:52am. Basically, I was doing show prep and came across a blog site that had his birthday posted as today. I was trying to remember if that was correct because I remembered it being August 11.”
Jeffrey went on, “I just randomly called him to get him on the air to see if it was true and wish him a happy birthday, and he answered the phone. You can tell there was a lot going on in the background. Chris said to someone, ‘It’s Akini from the radio station, baby.’ He also went on the apologize to me for not showing up to a radio interview that I had him scheduled for back February for the So So Def reunion.” The radio producer added that Chris also said, “Tell everybody in Atl I said what’s up.”
Our thoughts are with the friends and family of Chris Kelly at this time.
Check out Kris Kross performing at So So Def’s anniversary concert earlier this year as well as their old-school video for the hit-single, ‘Jump,’ below: