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Keith Grayson, professionally known as his DJ Kay Slay has died at the age 55 after living with Covid for four months.
The death of the iconic New York City emcee was announced by his family in an official statement on Twitter, who said that Grayson died on Easter Sunday (17 April).
“Our hearts are broken by the passing of Keith Grayson, professionally known as DJ Kay Slay,” they wrote. “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.
“Our family wishes to thank all of his friends, fans, and supporters for their prayers and well wishes during this difficult time,” they added.
In January, when Grayson was admitted to the hospital with Covid, his brother had originally told HipHopDX that he was “definitely not going to die”.
However, in the days before his death, music manager Wack 100 had shared on Instagram that Grayson was “still fighting” and that “he’s been off the #ECMO machine for couple weeks now. Let’s continue our prayers as our brother continues to fight”.
The trailblazing DJ was born in New York City and started his career as a graffiti artist. In his spare time, he performed hip-hop, during which he was featured in the 1983 hip-hop documentary Style Wars.
An official statement from The Grayson Family on the passing of Keith Grayson aka DJ Kay Slay: pic.twitter.com/nUZn55k3yh
— HOT 97 (@HOT97) April 18, 2022
While Grayson told Forbes in 2019 that he hadn’t intended to become a DJ, it all changed when he released his debut album The Streetsweeper, Vol 1.
He would go on to produce five additional albums over the course of his career.
In January, Grayson shared his final Instagram post promoting his single “In My Soul,” which was in collaboration with artists AZ, Papoose, and Tre Williams.
“In My Soul” was released in 2021 and is available to stream.