Rapper Heavy D Dies at 44

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UPDATED: The artist, actor and record producer -- born Dwight Arrington Myers -- most recently appeared in Brett Ratner's "Tower Heist" as a security guard.

Rapper Heavy D, a highly influential artist of the 1990s, died suddenly Tuesday. He was 44.

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Beverly Hills police officers were dispatched to the rapper's home at about 11:25 a.m. to follow up on a report of an "unconscious person" laying on the walkway of a building. Heavy D., born Dwight Arrington Myers, was then transported to Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles by Beverly Hills Fire Department paramedics, according to a Beverly Hills Police Department statement.

An investigation revealed that Heavy D. had returned from shopping and experienced difficulty breathing while walking into his building. Building personnel were helping him up to his condo when he collapsed.

He was pronounced dead at 1 p.m. at Cedars. Foul play is not suspected, and his death is believed to be medically related. 

News of his death quickly spread after Grandmaster Flash tweeted, "I was just told Heavy D passed away."

Born May 24, 1967, the Jamaican-American actor, rapper and record producer formed Heavy D & the Boyz, releasing their first album via Uptown Records in 1987. The group was perhaps best known for the hit single "Now That We Found Love" and singing the theme to the TV variety show In Living Color.

Heavy D recently performed at the 2011 BET Awards, his first live show in 15 years, as well as the Michael Jackson tribute concert in Wales on Oct. 8. His final album, released Sept. 27 via Stride Entertainment, was a digital-only release titled Love Opus.

Among Heavy D's acting credits are roles in The Cider House Rules, The Tracy Morgan Show, Bones, Law & Order: SVU and, most recently, Brett Ratner's Tower Heist.

An active Twitter user, his final post came the day before his death: "BE INSPIRED!" Before that, he expressed sadness over the death of former heavyweight boxing champion Joe Frazier.

Heavy D's death was first reported by TMZ.