News that Chris Kelly died spread rapidly on Wednesday night, leading to an outpouring of sympathy for the former child rapper.
Half of the adolescent 1990s rap duo Kris Kross, Chris Kelly was pronounced dead Wednesday evening at Atlanta Medical Center after being found unresponsive in his home. Authorities were unsure of the cause of death, though a drug overdose is reportedly suspected.
Also known as “Mac Daddy,” he and rap partner Chris Smith (known as “Daddy Mac”) stormed onto the rap scene in the early 1990s with the hit “Jump.” The two were discovered by rapper and producer Jermaine Dupri, who spotted the young rappers in an Atlanta mall.
Kris Kross saw their debut album “Totally Krossed Out” go multiplatinum, leading to a number of television appearances, a tour with Michael Jackson, and even their own video game. The duo recorded the “Rugrats Rap” for Nickelodeon and made the VH1’s list of “The 100 Greatest Kid Stars.”
They also had an impact on the fashion scene, popularizing the look of wearing clothes backward.
They failed to reach that level of success with subsequent albums, however, and faded out of the rap scene not long after they emerged.
Kris Kross did have a comeback of sorts recently. In February both Chris Kelly and Chris Smith reunited to perform at the So-So Def 20th Anniversary All-Star Concert.
After news of Chris Kelly’s death was announced late on Wednesday, many people took to social media to mourn his passing.
WTF MAN !!!R.I.P. Chris Kelly !!!AWWWW MANNN !!!My Condolences to the family !!!!WE WORKD IN THE 90’S…VERY TALENTED YALL !!
— Redman (@therealredman) May 2, 2013
Wearing my pants backwards to work tomorrow. R.I.P. Chris Kelly. — MTV (@MTV) May 2, 2013
— Star Jones (@StarJonesEsq) May 2, 2013
RIP Chris Kelly
— Diddy (@iamdiddy) May 2, 2013
A more complete picture of why Chris Kelly died could emerge later this week. An autopsy is planned for Thursday.