According to TMZ, and confirmed by a Jive Records rep, UGK MC Pimp C, real name Chad Butler, was found dead in a Hollywood hotel room this morning. He was thirty-three. Rescue workers responding to a 911 call from the Mondrian Hotel found the rapper in his bed. A distraught Bun B exclusively tells Rolling Stone, "His genius was unparalleled. His passion was undeniable and his love was unmatched. To say that I lost a friend or brother would never do justice to the relationship we shared. I will never be the same again."
In a statement, Jive Records head Barry Weiss said, "We mourn the unexpected loss of Chad. He was truly a thoughtful and kind-hearted person. He will be remembered for his talent and profound influence as a pioneer in bringing southern rap to the forefront ... he was a cherished member of the Jive family."
Less than two months ago, the UGK's (Underground Kingz) Pimp C and Bun B, along with OutKast's Big Boi, were called to the stage at the BET Awards by Kanye West after West announced the UGK's "International Players Anthem" was more worthy of the Best Hip-Hop Video award than his own "Stronger," which won. The UGK's seventh album Underground Kingz, debuted atop the Billboard charts in August of this year, and featured guests like OutKast, T.I., Too $hort (with whom Pimp C performed with Saturday night at L.A.'s House of Blues), Three Six Mafia and many more. The album has gone on to sell over 500,000 copies. "Pimp C highly influenced the rap game. A lot of rappers adopted his rap style and his production techniques," Too $hort said in a statement. "He was my best friend and fortunately, I was just with him onstage Saturday night at the House of Blues on Sunset. He was in a good mood, smiling and laughing. That's how I'll always remember him."
The duo formed in 1992 and enjoyed moderate success before huge guest spots on Jay-Z's "Big Pimpin'" and Three Six Mafia's "Sippin' on Some Sizzup" boosted their reputation. In 2002, Pimp C was incarcerated on aggrevated assault charges, and upon his release in 2005, the Port Arthur, TX, rap duo re-formed. Tributes are already pouring in on both Pimp C and the UGK MySpace pages. The cause of death is not presently known. Keep checking RollingStone.com for updates as they become available.