The family of Mercury Prize-nominated rapper Ty paid tribute to the 47-year-old after he died with coronavirus.
The musician, whose real name is Ben Chijioke, had been in hospital after testing positive for Covid-19, and had been placed in an induced coma to help his body fight the infection.
His sister, Maria Chijioke, said: “Before he passed we actually spoke to him on the phone and that gives me great comfort that the last thing he heard, from his family, his little sister, from his mother, is that he was loved and he went knowing that he was loved.”
Ty’s condition improved and he was awake in mid-April, according to a GoFundMe site in his honour.
However, page organiser Diane Laidlaw announced he died on May 7.
She wrote: “The family would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has reached out and expressed their concern since he was admitted in hospital but right now they would value having their privacy, so they can mourn privately. They just need time to process.”
Born in London to Nigerian immigrants, Ty released his debut album Awkward in 2001.
His second release, Upward, was nominated alongside Amy Winehouse and the Streets for the prestigious Mercury Prize in 2004.
He went on to release three more albums and collaborate with artists including De La Soul and Roots Manuva.
Luther star Idris Elba led the tributes, describing Ty as a “UK hip hop pioneer”.
Elba wrote on Instagram: “I’m broken by this man. I remember when we did a tune somewhere in S.london back in the day, that was when I was doing 1st season of Luther and we talked about the Wire a lot. Prayers to your family .”
Actor Noel Clarke was also among those who paid tribute.
He said on Twitter: “Except a few, most people wouldn’t know but this guy was my Friend. Today Covid took him. Stay home. This thing is not a joke.”
Roots Manuva wrote: “Rest my Brother. You did good.”
Grime rapper Ghetts said on Instagram: “RIP TY. This ones deep I had a lot of respect for ty one of the first from the older generation to embrace me and show me love fly high ty.”
Ghostpoet added: “Rest in peace Ty. Rapper, poet, activist and one of the finest talents the United Kingdom has ever produced. Your music will live forever.”
Radio DJ Gilles Peterson said: “I’m so sad about the news that @tymusic passed away today. He was a huge part in the development of Hip Hop and spoken word in this country. An original no nonsense voice always sharp always witty. todays generation of rappers owe him a lot – a true gate opener.”
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