Big Punisher Dead Of Apparent Heart Attack
Bronx, N.Y. rapper Big Punisher died suddenly Monday (Feb. 7) from an
apparent heart attack. Details are sketchy at press time, but he
reportedly had a history of heart problems. He was 28.
The rotund rapper made noise in the hip-hop world with guest appearances
on works by Fat Joe, Rakewon, and the Beatnuts. His 1998 debut CD,
Capital Punishment (Loud Records), featured heavy-hitting
guests like Wyclef Jean, Busta Rhymes, Noreaga, and
Wu-Tang Clan's RZA and Inspectah Deck. A second CD was
in the works.
Big Punisher, born Christopher Rios, is survived by a wife and
Loud Records representatives were not available for
comment. allstar will have further details when they become
Donna DeChristopher -- CDNow
Big Pun Dies at 28
By SHARON L CRENSON
Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK (AP) -- Christopher Rios, the platinum-selling
rapper known as Big Pun who was respected for his
imaginative lyrics and smooth delivery, died Monday. He was
Rios was pronounced dead at 3:53 p.m., and the cause of
death was to be determined by the medical examiner, said a
spokeswoman at White Plains Hospital in suburban New
York. His publicist, David Granoff, said it appeared Rios died
of a heart attack.
"He was beloved, and admired, and accomplished, and rich,''
He credited Rios, who was Puerto Rican, with working to
bring Latino entertainers into rap, a style traditionally
dominated by black artists.
The rap world started to take notice of Rios -- whose stage
name was short for Big Punisher -- after appearances with
fellow rapper Fat Joe and a feature on "The Mix Tape Vol. 1''
put together by Funkmaster Flex.
His street hit "You Ain't a Killer'' was featured on the "Soul in
the Hole'' soundtrack and his first album, "Capital
Punishment'' went double platinum and was nominated for a
Grammy last year.
Rios' second album, '' Yeah, Baby,'' was due out in April.
"Big Pun possessed a lyrical gift of incessant breath control
and a knockout punch with the rhymes,'' a reviewer wrote
about rapper for sonymusic.com.
Known earlier in his career as Big Moon Dog, the entertainer
was once an avid basketball player and boxer, but later said
he took to eating "until he couldn't tie his shoelaces.''
Jimmy Rodriguez, a longtime friend, said he would be missed.
"Anybody that knew or ever come in contact with Big Pun
would have walked away saying that they just walked away
from a gentle giant,'' Rodriguez said. "He was so special.''
Rios, who lived in the Bronx, was survived by his wife Liza,
and three young children: Christopher, Vanessa, and
Big Punisher Suffers Fatal Heart Attack
Rapper Big Punisher, currently heard on Jennifer
Lopez' "Feelin' So Good" single, suffered a heart
attack and was pronounced dead Monday afternoon
at the age of 28.
A hospital spokesperson declined to discuss details
of the rapper's condition, and told MTV News that Big
Pun (real name Christopher Rios) was dead on arrival
at the hospital at approximately 4 p.m. (ET) Monday
Rios is survived by a wife and three children.
Big Pun made his name in the hip-hop underground,
and then, in 1998, rode the made-for-radio vibe of
"Still Not a Player" to the top of the R&B chart... and
full-blown rap stardom.
His 1997 debut album, "Capital
Punishment" got rave reviews and a
Grammy nomination. For over a
year, Pun was in the limelight,
working with his friend, mentor and
fellow rapper Fat Joe and their group
The Terror Squad.
Hailed as a lyricist on the order the
late Biggie Smalls, Pun's sudden
stardom was accompanied and then
eclipsed by concerns about his
health, especially his disabling
weight. Friends and fans worried, but the man himself
tended to joke about it.
"When a big guy could do something that skinny
people can do, it's even more impressive. It looks
even better," Pun told MTV News in 1998. " When
you got a fat guy... it'll stand out even more. It's like,
'Wow, I didn't expect him...' Like when Joe'll rhyme
and I'll come out people will think I'm his bouncer,
and I'll be spittin' ... people are like 'Wow!'"
As his weight passed the 450-pound mark, Pun
found it increasingly difficult to perform, or even to
walk. Interviews had to be conducted at his home.
Big Pun had been slated to join Lopez and Fat Joe
for a performance of "Feelin' So Good" on last
weekend's edition of "Saturday Night Live," but not
turn up on the show. At the time of his death, the
rapper was preparing to release his sophomore
album, titled "Yeehah Baby," in April.
-- Andréa Duncan
Punisher Passes On
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.--(ENTERTAINMENT WIRE)--Feb.
Hip-Hop World Mourns Loss Of Beloved New
The esteemed rapper Big Punisher (a.k.a.
Big Pun, nee Christopher Rios) passed away of
natural causes in White Plains, New York,
on the afternoon of February 7, 2000.
A South Bronx native of Puerto Rican descent,
Big Punisher brought a sense of personal and community pride into his trademarked
and highly influential rap style which led to his signing with Loud Records.
``Pun was much more than one of the most
talented rappers today,'' said Steve Rifkind, Chairman & CEO, Loud
Records. ``He was a true gentleman, family man, and friend. I, my
partners Rich Isaacson and Jonathan Rifkind, and everyone at Loud have
lost a close family member. Our hearts go out to his wife, his children,
and his fans.''
Big Punisher took the rap world by storm
with his breakout single, ``Still Not A Player,'' and his 1998 RIAA double-platinum
debut album, Capital Punishment. He was enjoying the current success of
``Feelin' So Good,'' a collaboration with Jennifer Lopez and longtime friend
and mentor Fat Joe.
``Pun was many things,'' said Fat Joe.
``To me, he was my brother; to the hip-hop community, he was a living legend;
to Latinos everywhere, he broke down barriers in the entertainment industry.
But most importantly, he was a man, a husband and a father. He will
be missed but never forgotten.
At the time of his death, Big Punisher
was preparing to release Yeeeah Baby, his eagerly-awaited sophomore
album on Loud Records.
Mr. Rios was born on November 9, 1971,
and is survived by his wife and three children.
Big Pun Funeral,
Memorials, and Tributes Compiled
Louissaint in Blaze
After the abrupt passing of platinum-selling
Grammy-nominated rapper Big Pun, whose real name is
Christopher Rios, fans and friends alike have come
out to pay homage the emcee. As we reported
yesterday, a memorial mural had been painted in the
Bronx, New York in honor of the rapper by the TATS
Cru, a graffiti art company. Since then, the mural has
become a makeshift shrine, with flowers being laid
out and liquor being poured by fans and friends in
remembrance of the rapper. In addition, famed
mixtape producer DJ Clue will release an underground
mixtape dedicated to Big Pun this Friday.
The Ortiz Funeral Home in the Bronx will open its
doors today and Friday to the public, and will allow
fans to pay their respects to Rios. Hours are today 6
p.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. The
address for the funeral home is 2121 Westchester
Ave., Bronx, NY. For more info on the public viewing
call (718) 931-1500. A private service and burial will
take place this weekend. Big Pun died Monday,
February 7 at White Plains Hospital in New York. The
official cause of death has not been released, but it
was believed that his massive weight, which was
lose to 700 lbs, played a role in his death.
Inspires Fat Joe to Diet
Reported in Spin
This week's tragic death
of friend and sometime partner Big Pun has inspired fellow overweight rapper
Fat Joe to seriously address his weight problem. Although Joe, at 350 lbs
is positively svelte compared to Pun's lethal 600-plus girth, Joe isn't
taking the recent developments lightly. The rapper told the New York
Post yesterday: "I've got to drop some weight. I have no choice... I've
got two kids and I want to be around to see them grow up. But it's very
hard. I'm constantly battling with my weight." Joe will have to lay off
his non-slimming celebrity sandwich (an honor bestowed earlier this month
by the famous Stage Deli in Manhattan) which boasts a couple of fried eggs,
turkey, and melted cheese (but the turkey's okay, isn't it?). Pun will
be memorialized tomorrow in the Bronx during a two day wake at the Ortiz
Funeral Home on Westchester Avenue (2 PM to 10 PM Thursday and Friday).