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Rapper Big Pun Dies of Apparent Heart Attack

Hip-hop heavyweight dead at age 28

February 8, 2000 12:00 AM ET

Puerto Rican rapper Big Punisher, the platinum-selling artist who most recently appeared on Jennifer Lopez' "Feelin' So Good" single, died Monday in White Plains, N.Y. He was 28.

Although a cause of death was not immediately known, it is believed that the 600-pound rapper suffered a massive heart attack at a local hotel. He was rushed to White Plains Hospital Monday afternoon, where he was pronounced dead on arrival at 3:53 p.m. EST.

Big Punisher (born Christopher Rios) was instantly recognizable by his massive size, which became his trademark when he broke onto the hip-hop scene in the late '90s. The Bronx native was best known for his smash single, "Don't Wanna Be A Player," featured on his 1998 platinum debut album, Capitol Punishment. He was revered in the hip-hop community for being the first Latino rapper to go platinum, surpassing his mentor, Fat Joe, in record sales. Jennifer Lopez asked him to appear on her latest single and video, "Feelin' So Good."

Hip-hop maven Louis Romain, an associate of Pun's, recalls when he first knew the rapper's weight was a problem: "I was genuinely concerned about his health last summer as soon as he walked through the studio door. Unconfirmed reports of his attempts to lose weight eased my fears somewhat."

Big Pun is survived by his wife, Liza, and their three children, Amanda, 9, Vanessa, 7, and Christopher, 6. He was working on his second album, Yeah Baby, at the time of his death.

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