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Dwight Errington Myers (May 24, 1967 – November 8, 2011), better known as Heavy D, was a Jamaican-born American rapper, record producer, singer, actor, and the former leader of Heavy D & the Boyz, a hip hop group which included dancers/background vocalists G-Whiz (Glen Parrish), "Trouble" T. Roy (Troy Dixon), and Eddie F (born Edward Ferrell). The group maintained a sizable audience in the United States through most of the 1990s. The five albums the group released were produced by Teddy Riley, Marley Marl, DJ Premier, his cousin Pete Rock, and Eddie F.
Myers was born in Mandeville, Manchester, Jamaica, the son of nurse Eulahlee Lee and machine technician Clifford Vincent Myers. In the early 1970s, his family moved to Mount Vernon, New York, where he was raised. In an interview, his mother stated that he spent most of his childhood hanging out with his brother Floyd and his childhood friend Mo.
Heavy D & the Boyz were the first group signed to Uptown Records, with Heavy D as the frontman and only rapper. Eddie F was his business partner in the group, DJ, and one of the producers. The other two members, T-Roy and G-Wiz were the dancers. Their debut, Living Large, was released in 1987. The album was a commercial success; Big Tyme was a breakthrough that included four hits. "Trouble T. Roy" died at age 22 in a fall on July 15, 1990, in Indianapolis. Dixon's death led to a tribute on the follow-up platinum album, Peaceful Journey. Pete Rock & CL Smooth created a tribute to Trouble T. Roy called "They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)" which is regarded as a hip hop classic.
In 1989 Heavy D performed a guest rap on Janet Jackson's hit single "Alright", an early example of rap appearances on pop songs. It was also the highest peaking song which he had performed on in the Billboard Hot 100. In 1992 he appeared on Michael Jackson's single "Jam", and also gained a higher profile by singing the theme song for the television program In Living Color and also MADtv. Heavy D then began focusing on his acting, appearing in various television shows before returning to the music charts with Nuttin' But Love. After appearing in the off-Broadway play Riff Raff (play)|Riff Raff at Circle Repertory Company, Heavy D returned to recording with the hit Waterbed Hev. In 1997, Heavy D collaborated with B.B. King on his duets album Deuces Wild, rapping in the song "Keep It Coming". Heavy D was referred to in the song "Juicy" by the Notorious B.I.G., and appeared in his music video for "One More Chance".
While still an artist at Uptown Records, Myers was instrumental in convincing Andre Harrell to originally hire Sean "Diddy" Combs for his first music business gig as an intern. In the early 90s, he is also credited[according to whom?] for convincing Harell to sign Jodeci. Myers became the first rapper to head a major music label when he became the president of Uptown Records. During this time, Myers also developed the boy band Soul for Real, and was the executive producer and principal writer of several songs on the group's breakout album, Candy Rain. He later became senior vice president at Universal Music.
He fathered a daughter in 2000 with chef Antonia Lofaso, a contestant on the fourth season of Top Chef.
Heavy D's final live performance was with Eddie F at the 2011 BET Hip Hop Awards on October 11, 2011, their first live televised performance together in 15 years. Myers died on November 8, 2011, in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 44. He collapsed outside his home in Beverly Hills, California, and was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. His death was initially thought to be connected to pneumonia.
An autopsy report, released on December 27, 2011, stated that the cause of death was a pulmonary embolism (PE).[The coroner's office found that Myers died of a PE that had broken off from a deep vein thrombosis in the leg. He also suffered from heart disease. Craig Harvey, chief of the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner, said that the blood clot that resulted in the PE was "most likely formed during an extended airplane ride". Heavy D had recently returned from a trip to Cardiff, Wales, where he performed at a tribute to Michael Jackson.
Shortly after his death, MC Hammer and others paid tribute to Heavy D on Twitter. Hammer tweeted that, "We had a lot of great times touring together. He had a heart of gold. He was a part of what's good about the world."
His funeral was held at Grace Baptist Church in his hometown of Mount Vernon, New York, and he was buried in Hartsdale, New York.