Houston rapper Big Pokey dies after fainting during performance

BEAUMONT, Texas — Houston rapper Big Pokey died after collapsing on stage at a bar in Beaumont early Sunday. He was 45.

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The “Sittin’ Sidewayz” singer, whose real name was Milton Powell, was performing during a Juneteenth-themed show at the Pour09 Bar in Beaumont when he fainted, KBMT-TV reported.

Videos on social media showed Powell with a microphone in his hand when he appeared to faint, falling backward and landing on his back, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Beaumont Police Department spokesperson Haley Morrow said that Emergency Medical Services were notified at about 11:57 p.m. CDT on Saturday about an unconscious person at the venue, according to the newspaper.

Jefferson County Justice of the Peace Precinct 8 Judge Tom Gillam III said Powell was taken to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Beaumont, where he was later pronounced dead, KBMT reported. A cause of death has not been given pending the results of an autopsy.

Powell was a member of Screwed Up Click, a group of Houston-based rappers that included the late DJ Screw, the Chronicle reported. Other members of the group included Fat Pat, Z-Ro, Lil’ Keke, and Lil’ Flip, according to KBMT.

Powell appeared on some of DJ Screw’s earlier releases before embarking on a solo career that began with “The Hardest Pit in the Litter” in 1999, Rolling Stone reported.

Fellow Houston rapper Bun B announced Powell’s death in an Instagram post.

“Low key, humble mountain of a man who moved with honor and respect. He was easy to love and hard to hate,” Bun B wrote. “There will never be another and will be missed dearly. We love and honor you Sensei. Rest in heaven.”

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner paid tribute to Powell in a tweet.

“Though many called him ‘low key,’ his presence was larger than life in helping to catapult our hip hop scene nationally,” Turner wrote.

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