Chris Kelly, one half of the '90s hip-hop group Kris Kross, died on Wednesday evening from a suspected drug overdose. He was just 34 years old.
Kris Kross' 1992 album Totally Krossed Out reached No. 1 on the US charts and featured the single "Jump", which stayed on top of the Billboard Hot 100 for eight weeks. Chris' family is now confirming that he used drugs the night before his death and that he had an "extensive history of drug abuse."
His mother, Donna Kelly Pratt, called police on Wednesday afternoon after finding him on the couch of his Atlanta home with "no life signs." Authorities unsuccessfully tried to revive the rapper before rushing him to a nearby hospital, and pronounced him dead just a few hours later.
Donna told police that he had taken a mixture of heroin and cocaine known as a "speedball" the night before his medical emergency. After personally taking him home to recover from his drug use, which she had done before on several occasions, she reported that he had felt nauseous all morning before passing out. His mother and uncle also reported that he had an on-and-off drug problem which had lasted for over 10 years.
Chris had been winning the fight against his addiction, but his drug use returned in full force last February when Kris Kross reunited for a one-off show at hip-hop label So So Def's 20th anniversary concert. The large paycheck and talks of Kris Kross going back on the road for a summer tour reportedly fueled his ego, leading him back to partying with Atlanta-based rappers and using cocaine again.
Numerous celebrities in the hip-hop world including Ludacris and Nicki Minaj tweeted their respects to the late rapper. "One of my motivations as a kid to even get into the rap game. You will be missed. R.I.P. Chris Kelly," tweeted Ludacris. Nicki tweeted that she was "sending love to his family" and sad to hear the news.
“Though he was only with us a short time, we feel blessed to have been able to share some incredible moments with him," said his mother in a statement. “His legacy will live on through his music, and we will forever love him.”
Our thoughts go out to Chris' family and loved ones during this time.
Photos courtesy of Getty Images