Underground New York rapper, Pumpkinhead, died on Tuesday morning at the age of 39. The passing of the well known artist was confirmed to Rolling Stones by Graeme “GMS” Sibirsky, the co-founder of PH’s label, MCMI Records.
The cause of death is not known, but according to reports, the rapper was admitted to a New Jersey hospital earlier this week for a minor surgery.
Diaz, who is known for his rap battles, was known and loved by several mainstream artists, including Talib Kweli who shared a heartfelt message on Instagram.
“Just finding out I lost a great friend today,” Talib wrote. “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.”
He continued, “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.”
Immortal Technique also wrote a lengthy message on Facebook expressing his sadness over his friend’s death.
“Rest in Power. Robert Diaz. Pumpkinhead. PH,” he wrote. “PH always had jokes man. He was never unprepared to tell you about yourself… I have so many memories I could share from the times we came up but I am just bleeding, angry, confused and heartbroken for his family which I send all my condolences to. To say that he was a legend is an understatement.”
Diaz became a household name after the release of his 1997 hit “Dynamic.” The song was followed up by several solo albums including 2001’s The Old Testament, 2003’s Beautiful Mind and 2005’s Orange Moon Over Brooklyn.
PH is surveyed by his pregnant wife and his two sons.