David Jude Jolicoeur, widely known as Trugoy the Dove and a founding member of American hip-hop trio De La Soul, has passed away.
The 54-year-old’s representative, Tony Ferguson, confirmed his death but gave no further details.
In recent years, Jolicoeur had said he was battling congestive heart failure.
De La Soul was part of the hip-hop tribute to the Grammy Awards last weekbut Trugoy was not on stage with his fellow band members.
Tributes to the rap artist poured in on social media.
“Dave! It was an honor to share so many stages with you,” rapper Big Daddy Kane wrote on Instagram.
Rapper Erik Sermon posted on Instagram: “This one hurts. Van Long Island of one of the best rap groups in Hip Hop #Delasoul #plug2 Dave has passed away you will be missed… RIP.”
Young Guru added, “Rest in peace my brother. You were loved. @plugwondelasoul I love you brother, we’re here for you. Smiling, I love you bro. This is crazy” and DJ Semtex wrote that it ” heartbreaking news”.
‘A huge loss’
Cheo Hodari Coker, executive producer of the Luke Cage TV series, tweeted, “You don’t understand what De La Soul means to me. Their existence said to me, a black nerd from Connecticut that yes hip-hop is yours too. ” , and Trugoy was the balance, McCartney to Pos Lennon, Keith to his Mick. This is a huge loss.”
Born in Brooklyn, Jolicoeur grew up in Long Island where he met Vincent Mason (Pasemaster Mase) and Kelvin Mercer (Posdnuos) and the three decided to form a rap group, each taking on different names.
Trugoy, Jolicoeur said, was retarded for “yogurt.” More recently he was called Dave.
De La Soul is considered one of the most innovative groups in rap history.
Their debut studio album 3 Feet High And Rising, produced by Prince Paul, was released in 1989 and was praised for being a more light-hearted and positive counterpart to more charged rap offerings such as N.W.A’s Straight Outta Compton and Public Enemy’s It Takes A Nation Of Millions One released years earlier.
Sampling everyone from Johnny Cash and Steely Dan to Hall & Oates, De La Soul marked the beginning of alternative hip-hop.
In Rolling Stone, critic Michael Azerrad called it the first “psychedelic hip-hop record”, with some others even calling them a hippie group.
In 2010, 3 Feet High And Rising was added to the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress because of its historical significance.
They followed with De La Soul Is Dead in 1991, which was a bit darker and more divisive with critics, and Stakes Is High in 1996.