Ty, Mercury Prize-nominated UK rapper, dead from coronavirus at 47

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Mercury Prize-nominated UK rapper Ty has lost his battle with the coronavirus, the Guardian reports. He was 47.

The hip-hop star, born Ben Chijioke, had been in declining health since at least early April, when he was “admitted into the hospital with medical complications related to COVID-19,” according to a fundraiser launched in his name. “Shortly after, he was put in a medically induced coma to temporarily sedate to help his body receive the appropriate treatment.”

By mid-April, he was doing better and was moved out of intensive care, the Guardian reports. It’s unclear when his health began deteriorating again.

Born in London to Nigerian immigrants, Ty released his first album, “The Awkward,” in 2001 and achieved mainstream attention with his 2003 album “Upwards,” which was nominated for a revered Mercury Prize in 2004. Amy Winehouse was also nominated, and Franz Ferdinand won.

During his career, Ty collaborated with hip-hop trio De La Soul and rapper Roots Manuva among others. After “Upwards,” he released three more solo albums — the most recent one, “A Work of Heart,” came out in 2018 — and formed a hip-hop supergroup called Kingdem in 2019.

Tributes immediately began pouring in on social media following the news of his passing.

“Rest in peace Ty,” writes author Nikesh Shukla of the late rapper. “You were one of the nicest people I ever met. Such a huge huge loss. Such a huge loss. Devastated. So much love to his family.”

“Oh man. TY. Horrible news. Rest In Power. UK music legend and loved and respected by many. So sad,” tweets DJ Twin B.

“Rest my Brother. You did good,” writes Manuva.

“One of my first remixes for @tymusic . . . may we all continue to have the honesty and courage he displayed in his music and in life. My heart is breaking,” writes London-based music producer Funk Butcher, “Rest in power sir. Thank you for everything.”


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