Sugarhill Gang rapper Big Bank Hank — born Henry Jackson — has died at age 57. TMZ first reported the news, which Rolling Stone later confirmed.
Jackson was suffering from cancer and passed away in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
The Bronx-born rapper was one of hip-hop’s first pioneers as one third of the Sugarhill Gang, whose international hit “Rapper’s Delight” became the first rap single to crack the Billboard Hot 100 top 40. It was also one of the first rap singles, period, and as such had an immense influence on the nascent genre.
Less than one month ago, “Rapper’s Delight” celebrated the 35th anniversary of its debut on the Billboard charts.
Fans, followers and fellow MCs are paying tribute to the rapper on Twitter.
RIP Big Bank Hank of the Sugarhill Gang #pioneer
— QTip (@QtipTheAbstract) November 11, 2014
Rest in peace… Big Bank Hank… Hip hop pioneer dies of Cancer …. Legend… Sugarhill gang August… http://t.co/RD7qo2KG4C
— Funk Flex !!!!! (@funkflex) November 11, 2014
Respect. Prayers up. God Bless. RT @Combat_Jack: RIP Big Bank Hank Aug. 5 1957 – Nov. 11 2014
— Bun B (@BunBTrillOG) November 11, 2014