David Jolicoeur, a co-founding member of the pioneering Long Island rap trio De La Soul, died over the weekend, according to his team. He was 54.
Representatives of the veteran performer, who is known under the stage name “Trugoy the Dove,” confirmed reports of Jolicoeur’s passing on Sunday.
Other details about Jolicoeur’s death are scarce and his team has not provided a cause of death. However, the rapper has been vocal about struggling with congestive heart failure in recent years and had to wear a LifeVest defibrillator.
In 2018, the “Me Myself and I” singer said in a video on Instagram that he had difficulties with being sidelined due to his chronic condition, according to AllHipHop, a music outlet that first reported the news.
“I’m ready just to get back to the stage,” Jolicoeur said at the time. “I miss that. I love traveling. I love being around my guys and I want that back.”
Last week, De La Soul appeared on stage for the Grammy’s celebrated hip-hop tribute and performed their song “Buddy,” but Jolicoeur was visibly absent onstage with his fellow bandmates.
The groundbreaking hip-hop group—which was formed in the late 1980s in the Amityville area of Long Island, New York—also includes Vincent Mason and Kelvin Mercer.
The three musicians decided to each take on distinctive names—Trugoy the Dove, Pasemaster Mase, and Posdnuos—and formed a group that signaled the beginning of jazz rap and alternative hip-hop subgenres.
De La Soul’s debut studio album “3 Feet High and Rising”—produced by Prince Paul—was released in 1989 by Tommy Boy Records and was praised at the time for being more light-hearted and positive when compared to albums released by other rap groups around the same time, such as N.W.A., a rap band that released songs with explicit lyrics many viewed as being misogynistic and advocating violence against police officers.
In 2010, “3 Feet High and Rising” was added to the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress for its historic significance.
De La Soul released eight albums and in March was going to make its streaming service debut, on Spotify, Apple Music, and others after a long battle with Tommy Boy Records about legal and publishing matters. The 2021 acquisition of Tommy Boy Records by Reservoir, with masters from the likes of De La Soul, Queen Latifah, and Naughty By Nature, helped move things along and the full catalog was set to debut on March 3.
Over the course of the band’s performing career, they were nominated for six Grammy Awards, winning one for Best Pop Vocal Collaboration for the British virtual band Gorillaz’s song “Feel Good Inc.” in 2006.
Many rappers and musicians offered tributes after news of Jolicoeur’s passing broke on Sunday.
“Trugoy Dave from De La Soul has gone up to be with the day of the stars with the Master,” singer Pharell Williams said in a tribute on Twitter. “Sending love, light and positive vibrations to his family, The Soul and everyone whose lives have been touched by his existence.”
Trugoy Dave from De La Soul has gone up ⬆️ to be with the day of the stars with the Master.
Sending love, light and positive vibrations to his family, The Soul and everyone whose lives have been touched by his existence.
Oodles and Oodles and Oodles of O’s ✨🔥💛🎢🙌🏾🍯❤️🩹🙏🏾
— Pharrell Williams (@Pharrell) February 13, 2023
“Dave! It was a [sic] honor to share so many stages with you,” rapper Big Daddy Kane said on Instagram.
Erick Sermon, a rapper and record producer, also offered tributes, sharing on Instagram, “This one hurts. From Long Island from one of the best rap groups in Hiphop # Delasoul #plug2 Dave has passed away you will be missed … RIP.”
Young Guru, a record executive whose real name is Gimel Keaton, wrote, “Rest in peace my brother. You were loved. @plugwondelasoul I love you brother we are here for you. Smiles I love you bro. This is crazy” and DJ Semtex wrote that it was ‘heart-wrenching news.'”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.