Houston rapper Big Pokey passed away Sunday, June 18, after collapsing onstage in Beaumont, Texas, ABC13 reports. He’d been tapped to perform at Pour09 Bar& Rooftop as part of the Juneteenth celebration, where he eventually passed out. Footage shared on Twitter shows him falling backward at the bar with a microphone in hand.
“It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing of our beloved Milton ‘Big Pokey’ Powell,” reads a post shared on Pokey’s Instagram account.
“He was well loved by his family, friends and loyal fans. In the coming days, we will release information about his celebration of life and how the public can pay their respects. We ask that you respect his family and their privacy during this difficult time. Big Pokey will forever be ‘The Hardest Pit in the Litter,’” the post continues, referencing the rapper’s 1999 debut album.
Pokey’s death has since been met with heartfelt tributes, including one from fellow Screwed Up collective member Bun B.
“I wasn’t ready for this. One of the most naturally talented artists in the city. Low key, humble mountain of a man who moved with honor and respect,” he captioned an Instagram photo of Pokey. “He was easy to love and hard to hate. He’d pull up, do what he had to do, and head home. One of the pillars of our city. If heart of gold was a person. Iconic member of the SUC. There will never be another, and will be missed dearly. We love and honor you, Sensei. Rest in heaven.”
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