UK hip-hop pioneer Ty dies of COVID-19 complications aged 47

UK rapper Ty has died following complications of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronvairus.

The British-Nigerian artist first fell ill with the virus in March, and was later admitted to the hospital with coronavirus-related complications. While hospitalized, Ty’s friend Diane Laidlaw says he was put under a “medically induced coma to temporarily sedate to help his body receive the appropriate treatment.”

In mid-April, Ty appeared to be recovering when he was moved out of the ICU into a general ward. However, on May 7th, it was reported that the UK artist had “contracted pneumonia” while in the ward, “which worsened his recovery and ultimately Ty’s body couldn’t fight back anymore.”

On April 8th, an online fundraiser was launched to support the rapper upon his recovery. Before it was disabled last month, the page had received £20,000 in donations.

Born in 1972, Ty, also known as Ben Chijioke, was a rapper and spoken word artist credited for bridging the gap between UK hip-hop and the nascent grime scene. Merging the worlds of grime and East Coast rap, Ty’s work heralded a new era for UK rap. His pivotal debut album, Awkward was released in 2001, followed by his Upwards album in 2003, which was nominated for the Mercury Prize a year later. He had put out numerous EPs and and full-lengths since, with 2018’s A Work Of Heart being his most recent release.

Friends and colleagues have taken to social media to express their condolences.

View this post on Instagram
View this post on Instagram