(Reuters) - Hip hop pioneer Henry ‘Big Bank Hank’ Jackson, a founding member of The Sugarhill Gang, died Tuesday at the age of 57 after battling cancer.
David Mallie, manager of the trio, which had the first hip hop hit with the 1979 single “Rapper’s Delight,” said Jackson died after suffering from kidney complications, according to media reports.
“Rapper Delight,” was the first rap single to become a Top 40 hit.
“So sad to hear of our brother’s passing. The three of us created musical history together with the release of ‘Rapper’s Delight.’ We will always remember traveling the world together and rocking the house. Rest in peace Big Bank,” Wonder Mike and Master Gee, the group’s surviving members, said in a statement.
Fans of the rapper took to Twitter to express their sadness.
“R.I.P. Big Bank Hank. One-third of the song that made all of this Hip Hop Music possible. Thanx for opening the door,” tweeted rapper Big Daddy Kane.
Billboard described “Rapper’s Delight” as a “watershed single” and one of the most controversial rap tracks.
Reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by Mary Milliken and Steve Orlofsky