David Jude Jolicoeur, known widely as Trugoy the Dove and one of the founding members of the US hip-hop trio De La Soul, has died.
The 54-year-old’s representative, Tony Ferguson, confirmed his death, but gave no further details.
In recent years, Jolicoeur had said he was battling congestive heart failure.
De La Soul was part of the hip-hop tribute at the Grammy Awards last week, but Trugoy was not onstage with his fellow bandmates.
Tributes for the rap artist have poured in on social media.
“Dave! It was a honor to share so many stages with you,” wrote rapper Big Daddy Kane on Instagram.
Rapper Erik Sermon posted on Instagram: “This one hurts. From Long Island from one of the best rap groups in Hiphop # Delasoul #plug2 Dave has passed away you will be missed… RIP.”
Young Guru added: “Rest in peace my brother. You were loved. @plugwondelasoul I love you brother we are here for you. Smiles I love you bro. This is crazy” and DJ Semtex wrote that it was “heart wrenching news.”
‘A huge loss’
Luke Cage showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker tweeted: “You don’t understand what De La Soul means to me. Their existence said to me, a black geek from Connecticut that yes, hip-hop belongs to you too, and Trugoy was the balance, McCartney to Pos Lennon, Keith to his Mick. This is a huge loss.”
Jolicoeur was born in Brooklyn and raised in Long Island, where he met Vincent Mason (Pasemaster Mase) and Kelvin Mercer (Posdnuos) and the three decided to form a rap group, with each taking on distinctive names.
Trugoy, Jolicoeur said, was backwards for “yogurt”. More recently he had been going by the name Dave.
De La Soul are regarded as one of the most innovative groups in rap history.
Their debut studio album 3 Feet High And Rising was released in 1989 and praised for being a more light-hearted and positive counterpart to more charged rap offerings like N.W.A’s Straight Outta Compton and Public Enemy’s It Takes A Nation Of Millions released one year earlier.
Sampling everyone from Johnny Cash and Steely Dan to Hall & Oates, De La Soul signalled the beginning of alternative hip-hop.
In Rolling Stone, critic Michael Azerrad called it the first “psychedelic hip-hop record”, with some others even calling them a hippie group.
In 2010 3 Feet High And Rising was added to the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress for its historic significance.
They followed with De La Soul Is Dead in 1991, which was a bit darker and more divisive with critics, and Stakes Is High in 1996.