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DJ Kay Slay Dead At 55 After Months-Long COVID Battle: 'Our Hearts Are Broken'

DJ Kay Slay Dead At 55 After Months-Long COVID Battle: 'Our Hearts Are Broken'

World-famous hip-hop DJ and radio personality DJ Kay Slay has passed.

According to media reports, the recording artist and music producer — whose real name was Keith Grayson — passed away late Sunday night after a four-month-long battle with COVID-19. He was 55 years old.

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The news of his death was confirmed by his family, as well as by Hot 97, the New York-based radio station for which he’d long hosted a very popular show. In the statement released by the Graysons, obtained by People, the late DJ’s loved ones relayed the sad news of his passing and mourned his loss from this world:

“Our hearts are broken by the passing of Keith Grayson, professionally known as DJ Kay Slay. 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.”

So sad.

DJ Kay Slay released his first album, The Streetsweeper, Volume 1, in 2003. He produced several other studio albums in the years since, including his most recent work, The Soul Controller, in 2021.

According to Fader, he released “over 500 bootleg mixtapes” beginning in 1993, when he would sell them on street corners in NYC’s West Village. Over the years, his work had grown to feature artists like Eminem50-Cent, and JAY-Z, and he came to be well-known outside his New York City home base.

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In addition to his own personal achievements in the music biz, the popular DJ was also known as “The Drama King” for his 20 years of work hosting The Drama Hour on Hot 97.

The station related their own statement mourning the “cultural icon,” remembering his impact on listeners:

“Hot 97 is shocked and saddened by the loss of our beloved DJ Kay Slay. 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.”

Just awful. Truly, gone far too soon.

Our hearts go out to his friends, family, and loved ones.


[Image via DJ Kay Slay/Instagram]

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Apr 18, 2022 11:20am PDT

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