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Milton Powell, 48, a Houston rapper who performed under the name Big Pokey and is credited with elevating the city’s hip-hop scene, passed after collapsing during a show in Texas, a local official said Monday.
Tom Gillam III, a justice of the peace in Jefferson County, where Powell was performing when he collapsed Sunday, said an autopsy to determine the cause of death was pending.
ABC News reports Powell was performing at a bar in Beaumont called Pour09, whose owner, Min Dai, told the Houston Chronicle that police were onsite and able to provide medical help “instantly” before emergency responders rushed him to a hospital.
Big Pokey remembered as a Houston Sensei
Before many knew him as a larger-than-life lyricist, Pokey was a gentle giant on the football field, even kicking for his high school team.
A lover of lyrics and laughs, Pokey enjoyed everything from sittin’ sidewayz to hilariously explaining how to cook “straight-legged bacon.”
A statement on Powell’s official Instagram page said he was “well loved by his family, friends, and his loyal fans.”
Tributes from other artists poured in across social media.
H-Town living legend Bun B called Powell “one of the most naturally talented artists” in Houston.
“He’d pull up, do what he had to do and head home. One of the pillars of our city,” Bun B said on Instagram.
Powell was a member of Houston’s rap collective Screwed Up Click that was formed by the late DJ Screw.
In a recent video, Pokey flexed his lyrical dominion whilst standing proudly in front of a mural honoring Houston’s most beloved hip-hop legends.
Though celebrated across the country, Pokey now takes his place among the stars immortalized in the city he loved to his core.
Rest In Peace Big Pokey.