CHRIS Kelly, one half of 1990s rap duo Kris Kross, has died in hospital aged 34.
• Kris Kross rapper Chris Kelly dies aged 34
• Kelly, known as Mac Daddy, most famous for hit song Jump
Betty Honey of the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office said he was pronounced dead around 5pm local time yesterday at the Atlanta Medical Centre.
Authorities are unsure of the cause of death, she said, adding that a post-mortem examination has yet to be carried out.
Kelly, known as Mac Daddy, was one half of Kris Kross alongside Chris Smith, known as Daddy Mac. The duo are most famous for helming hip-hop party anthem Jump in 1992, taken from their multi-platinum selling album Totally Krossed Out.
The pair were introduced to the music world in 1992 by music producer and rapper Jermaine Dupri after he discovered them in an Atlanta mall. The duo wore their clothes backward as a gimmick, but they won over fans with their raps.
Jump was written by Dupri and was a No 1 smash in the US and globally, and one of the most popular of that year.
Their success led to instant fame - they toured with Michael Jackson, appeared on TV shows, and even had their own video game.
The group was never able to match the success of their first song, though they had other hits like Warm It Up, and Tonite’s tha Night.
Earlier this year, the group performed together to celebrate the anniversary of Dupri’s label, So So Def.
A joint statement released on Wednesday by So So Def and Mr Kelly’s mother, Donna Kelly Pratte, called him “kind, generous and fun-loving”.
“It is with deep sadness that we announce that our beloved Chris Kelly has passed away on May 1.
“To millions of fans worldwide, he was the trend-setting, backward pants-wearing one-half of Kriss Kross, who loved making music. But to us, he was just Chris - the kind, generous and fun-loving life of the party.”
“Though he was only with us a short time, we feel blessed to have been able to share some incredible moments with him. His legacy will live on through his music.”
There was no official confirmation of the cause of Mr Kelly’s death. An autopsy is due to be held on Thursday.
A local police spokesman said that a drug overdose was suspected.