NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Hip hop fans are mourning the passing of a legendary rapper from New York.

Heavy D, the self-proclaimed “overweight lover” of hip-hop who became one of rap’s top hit-makers with wit, died after collapsing outside his Beverly Hills condo. He was 44.

He performed last month at the BET music awards. His biggest hit was “Now That We Found Love” from the early 90s.

He grew up in Mount Vernon as Dwight Arrington Myers.

He was one of the genre’s most integral stars in the last 1980s and early 1990s, as it relied on new voices and star power to fuel its phenomenal growth in the mainstream.

Combined with the fusion of the “New Jack Swing” musical style, Heavy D was a constant presence on the charts, and a go-to figure for several performers. He collaborated with Michael Jackson on the 1991 single “Jam,” rapped with a young Notorious B.I.G. in 1993 on “A Buncha N—–” and dueted with B.B. King on the 1997 tune “Keep It Coming.”

The last tweet from Heavy D, who frequently filled his timeline with positivity, was posted Tuesday morning and read, “BE INSPIRED!”

Please share your thoughts below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Watch & Listen LIVE