Kris Kross' Chris Kelly Dead: "We Will Forever Love Him," Says His Mother

Celebrity News May. 2, 2013 AT 8:00AM
Chris Smith and Chris Kelly (right) of Kriss Kross Chris Smith and Chris Kelly (right) of Kriss Kross Credit: Paul Natkin/WireImage.com

Chris Kelly, who became a teen hip-hop star in the early 90s in the rap duo Kris Kross, has died at age 34. Kelly was found unresponsive at his Atlanta-area home, and later died at a nearby hospital on Wednesday, May 1, the Fulton County medical examiner's office told CNN. No further details about his cause of death were immediately available.

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Alongside Chris Smith, Kelly scored a major hit with Kris Kross' "Jump" in 1992. The single spent eight weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and was certified double platinum. Kris Kross were also known for their trademark style of wearing their clothes backwards.

UPDATE: His mother, Donna Kelly Pratte, tells Us Weekly in a statement: "It is with deep sadness that we announce that our beloved Chris Kelly has passed away on May 1. To millions of fans worldwide, he was the trendsetting, backwards pants-wearing one-half of Kris Kross who loved making music. But to us, he was just Chris – the kind, generous and fun-loving life of the party. Though he was only with us a short time, we feel blessed to have been able to share some incredible moments with him. His legacy will live on through his music, and we will forever love him."

The childhood pals were just 13 years old when they were discovered at an Atlanta mall in 1991 by producer Jermaine Dupri.

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The twosome recorded three albums total before disbanding in 1998 -- and briefly reunited at a 20th anniversary party for Dupri's record label earlier this year.

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