LOS ANGELES (AP) — Heavy D, the self-proclaimed "overweight lover" of hip-hop who became one of rap's top hit-makers with wit, humor and a positive vibe, has died. He was 44. Andrew Weitz of William Morris Endeavor Entertainment confirmed the rapper's death in Los Angeles in an email Tuesday, without giving a cause of death or saying where he died. Weitz declined to provide further details on Heavy D's death.

Dwight Arrington Myers, the rapper known as Heavy D of Heavy D and the Boyz, and his crew released their debut album "Living Large" in 1987. Their hits included "Now That We Found Love," ''Who's the Man" and "Somebody For Me."

The New York-born rapper was one of the genre's most integral stars in the last 1980s and early 1990s, as it relied on new voices and star power to fuel its phenomenal growth in the mainstream.

The deep-voiced rapper's earliest hit, "The Overweight Lover's in the House," played up his hefty frame. But while that nickname would stick, his weight did not become part of his shtick, like the Fat Boys. What drew people to his music was his singular style, which celebrated an easygoing, party vibe — sometimes humorous, sometimes inspiring and almost always positive.

In the mid-1990s, Heavy D became president of Uptown Records, the label that released most of his albums and was also the home to acts like Mary J. Blige and Jodeci. He also created the theme songs for sketch comedy shows "In Living Color" and "MADtv" and acted on the TV shows "Boston Public" and "The Tracy Morgan Show," as well as in the films "Life" and "Step Up.

Combined with the fusion of the "New Jack Swing" musical style, Heavy D was a constant presence on the charts, and also a go-to figure for several performers. He collaborated with such artists as Michael Jackson on the 1991 single "Jam" and the 1997 duet "Keep It Coming" with B.B. King.

His latest album, "Love Opus," was released in September, and he performed a medley of his past hits at the 2011 BET Hip Hop Awards last month.

He also had a cameo appearance in the new movie "Tower Heist," starring Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller.

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