Singer Nate Dogg, who helped define the influential and iconic sound of West Coast hip hop alongside Snoop Dogg, Warren G and Dr. Dre, has died at the age of 41.
He died on Tuesday due to complications from multiple strokes, his attorney, Mark Geragos, said Wednesday.
The singer, whose real name was Nathaniel Hale, had suffered ill health in recent years, including strokes in 2007 and 2008.
Born in Long Beach, Calif., Hale started singing in church as a child. He began his professional career as a member of 1990s hip hop trio 213. Rappers Snoop Dogg and Warren G were his bandmates in the influential southern California group.
Though not a rapper himself, Hale's deep, smooth, laid-back vocals were ubiquitous in several seminal hits of the genre, including Warren G's Regulate and Dr. Dre's The Next Episode.
Along with pursuing a solo career, he also collaborated on songs with artists like Eminem, 50 Cent and Mark Ronson — providing the integral catchy vocal hook that could often boost a song to hit status.
Warren G hinted at Hale's poor health in a Twitter update on Sunday.
"For those that don't know, a while back Nate had two strokes. He is in therapy. Thanks again for your support," the rapper and music producer, whose real name is Warren Griffin, posted online.
Longtime friend Snoop Dogg, born Calvin Broadus, led a wave of online tributes to the late singer.
Broadus described Hale, whom he met back in high school during the 1980s, as one of his best friends and likened him to a brother. He also praised Hale as a "true legend of hip hop and R&B."
Southern rapper Ludacris, whose real name is Chris Bridges, enlisted Hale for vocals on his chart-topping 2001 tune Area Codes.
"There is a certain void in hip hop's heart that can never be filled. Glad we got to make history together," Bridges posted online.