When the news was first released that Lee “Q” O’Denat had died, the hip-hop community was shaken to the core. The WorldStarHipHop founder was found dead at the age of 43, a young age by any standard. Yet, when word was released that the WorldStarHipHop founder had been found dead, conflicting stories began to arise about what, precisely, caused the demise of the founder of one of the most popular hip-hop websites in the world.
— CNN (@CNN) January 25, 2017
USA Today is reporting that Lee O’Denat, who was better known by the nickname of Q, died on Monday. Originally, it was reported that the WorldStarHipHop founder was found dead in his sleep. However, subsequent reports have confirmed that O’Denat was patronizing a San Diego business — specifically, a massage parlor — when he became unresponsive. Paramedics were quick to rush to the scene, but attempts to revive him were unsuccessful. Shortly after initial revival efforts were made, he was pronounced dead.
— The FADER (@thefader) January 24, 2017
Shortly after word got out that the WorldStarHipHop founder was pronounced dead, tributes started appearing in various publications.
Billboard Magazine reported that O’Denat originally founded the website in 2005 and started out as a platform to showcase up-and-coming hip-hop talent. However, soon after, it became known for its outrageous videos showing violence, creating a whole sub-culture surrounding the website’s name that became synonymous with a “ghetto”-type culture.
O’Denat also became infamous for his feud with rapper-turned-entrepreneur Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson that stemmed from a copyright infringement claim.
“In 2011, Q was tangled in a feud with rapper 50 Cent, who once claimed on Twitter that he had “put Worldstar to bed” when the site was shut down for a brief period in 2011 (an Internet video creator named IShatOnU who filed a copyright complaint against the site turned out to be the cause). “You don’t believe, try me, I will shut your sh– down,” added 50, who had filed a lawsuit against O’Denat in 2009 for copyright infringement, that involved an image of the rapper being used on the site’s masthead. The Hollywood Reporter reported in March 2014 that 50 Cent was awarded a partial victory in the suit.”
— Lit Battles (@litbattlerap) August 16, 2016
Upon hearing the news of O’Denat’s passing, the Los Angeles Times reported that tributes began pouring in from all over the web. Several rappers and hip-hop professionals shared their thoughts on the news that the WorldStarHipHop founder was found dead, and their tributes were all touching, in their own way.
A statement on the official Facebook page of WorldStarHipHop summed up the controversial feelings about the founder.
“Q was a brilliant businessman who championed urban culture, ultimately creating the largest hip-hop website in the world. But more than that, he was a devoted father and one of the nicest, most generous persons to ever grace this planet.”
A new MTV show centered around the website is still scheduled to go forward as planned. A representative for the website said that the company and the site will continue in Q’s absence.
The coroner confirmed that Q’s obesity was a contributing factor to his early demise and that he, ultimately, died of a heart attack. A native of Queens, New York, O’Denat leaves behind three children. There has been no word as to any official funeral plans, nor to any fan memorial plans.
Our thoughts are with O’Denat’s family during this difficult time.
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[Featured Image by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images]