(AllHipHop News) Chuck Freeze, a member of the pioneering rap group Jazzy Five, has passed away at the age of 54.
The musician, who rose to fame with his bandmates Master Ice, A.J. Les, Master Bee and Master Dee in the early 1980s, was found "unconscious and unresponsive" at his New York City home last weekend according to the New York Daily News.
Freeze, real name Charles Foushee, was later pronounced dead by emergency responders, and officials at the New York City Medical Examiner's office told the newspaper his death was caused by heart disease and high blood pressure.
His group's most famous track, 1981's "Jazzy Sensation (Bronx Version)" was recorded with fellow New York rapper Afrika Bambaataa and was sampled by the Beastie Boys on their 1989 hit "Hey Ladies."
Freeze's friend, DJ Kevie Kev Rockwell of the Fantastic Five, performed with him at the Essentials 608 nightclub in the Bronx on Saturday night - and told the Daily News his pal showed no signs of distress after the gig.
Paying tribute to his friend Rockwell said the late rapper's kindness and generosity meant he never cashed in on his early success.
"Chuck is a people's person," he explained. "In hip hop, for some reason, everybody was always battling, trying to cut each other's throat instead of sticking together. That's why the pioneers don't have the money that new hip hop artists have. But Chuck was different. He was like, 'Everybody can eat. If we share this light, everybody can eat.' He was always optimistic. Very loving and very caring. Very appreciative of life."
LL Cool J also offered up his own tribute to Freeze following his death, writing on Twitter, "Rest in power. Your verse on jazzy sensation was one of my favorites" next to a tweet from fellow rapper T.O.N.E-z mourning the Jazzy Five star.