DJ Kay Slay has died at the age of 55.

The revered New York City figure died on Sunday, according to comments given to HipHopDX from promoter Van Silk. In a statement, Silk noted that he and Kay Slay had known each other for many years and were recently in talks about working together again.

“Hip Hop lost a real gem,” Silk told HipHopDX. “My dear brother is gone. I’ve known him since he was 16 years old. He was my little brother. I introduced him to many and we did a lot of things together. We last talked December because we were finishing up the 200 rolling deep project. He was gonna do his video part with MC Sha-Rock.

Elsewhere, Silk mentioned the Straight Stuntin’ magazine launch, as well as Kay Slay’s educational What’s the Science podcast series.

“From the mixtapes to helping him launch Straight Stuntin‘ magazine and the whole What The Science project, the world not only lost a real dedicated person to the culture of Hip Hop but a source of bridging the gap in Hip Hop,” Silk told the publication on Sunday. “I’m gonna miss my little brother.”

On Monday, Hot 97 shared an official statement from DJ Kay Slay’s family.

“Our hearts are broken by the passing of Keith Grayson, professionally known as DJ Kay Slay,” the family said. “A dominant figure in Hip Hop culture with millions of fans worldwide, DJ Kay Slay will be remembered for his passion and excellence with a legacy that will transcend generations. In memory of DJ Kay Slay, our family wishes to thank all of his friends, fans, and supporters for their prayers and well wishes during this difficult time. We ask that you respect our privacy as we grieve this tragic loss.”

Hot 97 also shared a statement in which the Drama Hour era was cited, with the station remembering Kay Slay as a “cultural icon” who was a “vital part” of their own journey.

“Hot 97 is shocked and saddened by the loss of our beloved DJ Kay Slay,” a station rep said. “We cherish the many memories created through the twenty-plus years he dedicated to the ‘Drama Hour.’ A cultural icon, Kay Slay was more than just a DJ, to us he was family and a vital part of what made Hot 97 the successful station it is today. Our hearts go out to his family, friends, and fans worldwide and we will always and forever celebrate The Drama King’s legacy.”

In January, DJ Kay Slay was reported to have been hospitalized with COVID-19. Responding to inaccurate reports circulated at the time, Kwame Grayson—Kay Slay’s brother—informed HipHopDX the DJ and graffiti artist was “in a recovery state” but “getting stronger.”

DJ Kay Slay shared his The Soul Controller project in December. Enlisted as collaborators for the nine-song release were Snoop Dogg, The Game, Busta Rhymes, Benny the Butcher, Fat Joe, and more.

A number of fellow artists and industry figures have shared tribute messages following news of DJ Kay Slay’s death, including remembrances of the decades of artistry that make up his sustaining legacy.

Instagram user @respectthearchitects, a.k.a. Professor Bser, documents graffiti on NYC trains and pointed out that “the DEZ dedications have begun,” referencing Kay Slay’s street art moniker: