Tragedy has struck the New York hip hop community as it's revealed that rapper Craig Mack has died aged 46. While he had long since given up his musical ambitions, he is still remembered and loved by his former associates including Sean 'Diddy' Combs who first signed him.

Sean Combs at 'The Four' viewing partySean Combs at 'The Four' viewing party

Craig Mack, who is best known for his 1994 Grammy-nominated smash hit 'Flava in Ya Ear', passed away at a hospital in South Carolina on Monday (March 12th 2018) from heart failure, having been seriously ill for some time according to his close friend and former producer Alvin Toney.

'He was prepared for whatever comes, to go home to the Lord', Alvin told the New York Times. 'He was prepared to do that. He wasn't scared. He was ready.'

Alvin, who produced Craig's debut album 'Project: Funk Da World', saw his friend for the last time last week, visiting him at the Overcomer Ministry church in Walterboro as part of a documentary he was creating about his transition from fame to a life of religion.

'Nobody got to understand his story', he continued. 'I wanted the world to know the talent he had. It was something I wanted people to enjoy, but it was cut short because he was very religious and wanted to go to church.'

The rapper rose to fame when he was signed to Diddy's Bad Boy Records in the 90s, after the pair met at the Manhattan club Mecca and Craig impressed Diddy with a freestyle to Mary J. Blige. He left the label in 1995, and went on to release the album 'Operation: Get Down' in 1997 through Volcano Entertainment, though at this point it seemed his career was over already.

His last appearance alongside Diddy was back in 2002 for the video for his song 'I Need a Girl Part 1', but by his 2015 Bady Boy reunion at the BET Awards, Craig had left the spotlight completely,

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Craig Mack is survived by his wife and two adult children.