The New York underground music scene is mourning the loss of one of their own. Rapper Robert Diaz, best known by his stage name Pumpkinhead, died Tuesday, June 9 at age 39, Rolling Stone reports. The cause of Diaz's death is unknown, but the musician was admitted to a New Jersey hospital earlier this week for minor surgery.
As news of his passing spread, performers including Talib Kweli voiced their shock and sadness. "To lose such a great human being so early in his life, man. No words," Kweli wrote on Instagram when sharing a photo of his childhood friend Diaz. "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."
First breaking onto the scene in 1997 with the release of his song "Dynamic," Diaz released albums including The Old Testament (2001), Beautiful Mind (2003), and Orange Moon Over Brooklyn (2005). He also lent his talents to albums by Immortal Technique and Jean Grae.
In a touching Facebook post, Immortal Technique described his friend as a tireless advocate for other rappers and a rap battle enthusiast. "He was one of those guys who would just freestyle in the street for hours, 20 round battles, of merciless bars, and he always had a box of CDs hustling," Immortal Technique said. "To say he was a legend was an understatement. PH always had jokes, man. He was never unprepared to tell you about yourself."
Diaz is survived by his wife, who is pregnant with the couple's daughter, and two sons.
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