MIAMI (AP) — Rapper Rick Ross suffered a medical emergency Friday during an airline flight that forced the plane to return abruptly to a Florida airport, authorities said.

Authorities said Ross suffered the unspecified problem aboard a Delta Air Lines flight about 1 p.m. Friday. The flight carrying 121 passengers had departed at 12:21 p.m. for Memphis, Tenn., where Ross was scheduled to perform later Friday at the University of Memphis basketball team's midnight opening practice event.

Mike Jachles, spokesman for Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue, said the flight landed at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and was met by paramedics. They performed what Jachles called "advanced life-support care," which did not include CPR.

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Ross, 34, was conscious and breathing but was nonetheless taken to a local hospital for treatment. His condition was not immediately known, but a University of Memphis official said at midday that Ross insisted he was not canceling his appearance.

"He called a member of our staff and said not to believe what's out there and that he's on his way to perform at Memphis Madness," said Lamar Chance, a university athletics department spokesman.

Calls to Ross' publicist were not immediately returned.

The flight took off again without Ross for Memphis about 30 minutes after landing, said Delta spokeswoman Susan Elliott.

The Miami-based gangsta rapper gained fame with his husky voice and lyrics that spotlighted the grimier side of Miami life. He has become one of rap's most popular figures over the past few years.

Ross, whose real name is William Leonard Roberts II, has a new album titled "God Forgives, I Don't," due out in December.

The hefty rapper's hits include "Aston Martin Music," ''B.M.F. (Blowing Money Fast)" and "Hustlin'."

 

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.