Pumpkinhead, also known as PH — a fixture on the underground and battle-rap circuits for nearly two decades, died Tuesday morning (June 9) at the age of 39. The cause of death was not made public at press time. He is survived by a wife and two sons, and only just days ago announced that the family was expecting a baby girl.
Pumpkinhead, born Robert Diaz, collaborated with Talib Kweli, Royce Da 5’9″, Murs, Del the Funky Homosapien, Jean Grae, Wordsworth, Immortal Technique, producer Marco Polo and other veterans of the indie-rap scene. A native of Park Slope, Brooklyn, praised for his distinctive gruff voice, a knack for hilarious punchlines and a humble personality, he was perhaps best known for his 2005 album Orange Moon Over Brooklyn, released by SoulSpazm and distributed via Rawkus Records, the label that helped launch the careers of El-P, Mos Def and others.
Pumpkinhead was mourned on social media by Talib Kweli, Atmosphere and others. Funeral arrangements have not yet been made public.
Just finding out I lost a great friend today. RIP Robert Diaz AKA Pumpkinhead. Robert and I went to PS 282 together in Brooklyn, 4th grade. We then reconnected when he became an MC during the indie era of the late 90s. He signed to Makin Records, I signed to Rawkus. Then PH went on to reinvent himself again in the new battle rap era. He LOVED MCing and was great at it. To lose such a great human being so early in his life, man. No words. There is a fraternity of artists who were around for all of this. PH inspired us all. He will live on thru us even though his physical presence will be missed. RIP Robert Diaz.
Rest in Power my old friend. Life is too short. #Pumpkinhead #PH #RobertDiazRIP pic.twitter.com/JDG2W0Wle0
— IG: TechImmortal (@ImmortalTech) June 9, 2015
wow. just heard the news about our brother pumpkinhead. rest in peace to a talented and great man.
— atmosphere (@atmosphere) June 9, 2015
aw man rest in peace, pumpkinhead. one of the coolest, kindest people to walk this earth.
— el-p (@therealelp) June 9, 2015
— Alchemist (@Alchemist) June 9, 2015
Heartbroken to learn about the great Pumpkinhead transitioning from this life. Incredible MC and precious soul. Loved, Honored & Remembered.
— Brother Ali (@BrotherAli) June 9, 2015
Sad news about PumpkinHead… He was a good dude. Rest in peace.
— Statik Selektah (@StatikSelekt) June 9, 2015