DJ Kay Slay has died at the age of 55, months after being hospitalised with Covid-19.
The record executive, from New York, passed away on Easter Sunday and his death was confirmed by hip-hop promoter Van Silk.
It comes after the graffiti writer, whose real name is Keith Grayson, was admitted to hospital in December with Covid.
DJ Slay, who knew DJ Khaled and Snoop Dogg, was well-known for his albums The Soul Controller, The Streetsweeper and Accolades, while he was described as ‘Hip Hop’s One-Man Ministry of Insults’ by the New York Times.
Celebrities were quick to pay tribute to the music star, also known as Dez, as reports of his death began to circulate on social media.
Wack 100 said: ‘RIP DJ Kay Slay.’
Record producer Statik Selektah tweeted: ‘I have so much to say. So many stories. This weeks ShowOff Radio will be special. RIP Kay Slay.’
In an earlier post, he said: ‘Can’t believe I’m typing this. Rest in power DJ Kay Slay. Legend. F**k!’
Rapper Termanology wrote: R.I.P. DJ Kay Slay!!!! Words cannot describe how much of a legend he was and what he meant to our culture!!!!’
Music executive Dante Ross penned: ‘Rest Easy King Dez aka Spade TDS aka DJ Kay Slay a legend in two games: graffiti and DJaying. F Covid. Rest In Power.’
Model Jenna Shea shared a heartfelt tribute on her Instagram page, as she gushed that she was ‘grateful for the many years I’ve known you’ alongside a gallery of pictures of DJ Slay.
She said: ‘Rest In Peace @djkayslay you put me in straight stunt in in 2007 my first magazine ever. Then in 2020 you gave me a cover. I am grateful for the many years I’ve known you.
‘You were a true trailblazer in the music industry and magazine game. They don’t make ’em like you anymore. I’m blessed for our last conversations. The man above gonna count you in cuz you never counted nobody out.’
His friends and fans also flooded his final Instagram post, promoting his latest music video for his track In My Soul, with condolence messages.
Just one week ago, Wack 100 claimed that DJ Slay was ‘still fighting’ months after his Covid battle last year.
In December, DJ Slay’s brother Kwame Grayson spoke about his condition as he admitted that the record executive was unwell but was on the mend.
‘He was slowly fading away, but God didn’t let that happen, he told DX at the time. ‘So he’s up and going. He’s like in a recovery state, but he’s definitely not going to die.’
DJ Slay was a graffiti artist before he pursued a career in music and featured in the 1983 hip-hop documentary Style Wars, which looked at the hip-hop subculture across New York.
In 2019, the king of hip-hop radio told Forbes that he never intended to become a DJ but said doing mixtapes began to ‘brighten’ his life up following a stint in prison.
‘I didn’t so much set out to be a DJ,’ he said. ‘It was just something to do that was fun and that I enjoyed doing.’
During his successful music career, he worked with artists including Busta Rhymes, T-Pain, French Montana and Ray J.