Popular Nigerian rapper, Ben Chijioke better known as Ty, has died aged 47 after contracting coronavirus, COVID-19.
Ty, an acclaimed UK-based hip-hop star who was nominated for the Mercury prize for his album Upwards, was reportedly admitted into the hospital with medical complications related to COVID-19 last month.
Shortly after, he was put in a medically induced coma to temporarily sedate him in order to help his body receive the appropriate treatment.
His condition improved, however, and he was moved out of intensive care.
But, in an update posted to an online fundraising page dedicated to his medication, organiser Diane Laidlaw stated: “Ty’s condition had been improving but last week while on a normal ward he had contracted pneumonia which worsened his recovery and ultimately Ty’s body couldn’t fight back anymore.
“Close friends, family and fans are devastated of his death.”
Born in London in 1972, the son of Nigerian immigrants, Ty released his debut album Awkward in 2001, showcasing a tangibly British take on the US boom-bap style of hip-hop.
Witty tracks like ‘The Tale’ showed off his talent for storytelling and earned him a cult audience.
He broke through to wider attention with 2003’s Upwards, a brighter, more commercial album that brought him a nomination alongside Amy Winehouse and the Streets for the Mercury prize the following year.
The prize was eventually won by Franz Ferdinand.
Ty went on to record three further solo albums, the most recent being A Work of Heart in 2018.
He was also a spoken word artist, and an associate of The Hip-Hop Shakespeare Company, founded in 2009 by rapper Akala, who tweeted:
“Rest In Power brother. We gonna miss you big bro.”
In 2019 he formed a UK hip-hop supergroup called Kingdem with rappers Blak Twang and Rodney P, who performed an acclaimed freestyle on DJ Charlie Sloth’s Fire in the Booth series.
Sloth called him “a friend, a role model and a true foundation to UK rap”.
Blak Twang wrote that he was “so numb” following Chijioke’s death.
Over the years he also collaborated with De La Soul, Soweto Kinch, Roots Manuva and more.