LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Rapper Ol' Dirty Bastard, whose criminal lifestyle and strange behavior overshadowed his work as one of the founding members of rap collective Wu-Tang Clan, collapsed and died in New York on Saturday, his record label said.
The artist, whose real name was Russell Jones, was found in a recording studio complaining of chest pains, a source told Reuters. Paramedics were called but were unable to save him. A spokeswoman said the cause of death was unknown.
"Russell inspired all of us with his spirit, wit, and tremendous heart," said a statement from Roc-A-Fella Records, the label founded by rapper Jay-Z. "The world has lost a great talent, but we mourn the loss of our friend."
In the hip-hop genre, where many performers attract the attention of the law and most spare no expense flaunting their extravagant lifestyles, Jones was in a class of his own.
Jones, who was in his mid-30s, fathered 13 children, according to Blender magazine. His other stage names included Dirt McGirt and Big Baby Jesus, the latter moniker inspired by his belief that "I always been Jesus."