Robert Ross, who was known professionally as former Bad Boy Records rapper Black Rob, died on Saturday at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta
Black Rob
Credit: Linda Rosier/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

Robert Ross, the "Whoa!" rapper known professionally as Black Rob, has died. He was 52.

The Grammy-nominated artist died on Saturday afternoon at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, according to Rolling Stone. His friend Mark Curry said Ross was hospitalized earlier that day and the cause of death was cardiac arrest, which was caused by a rare kidney disease.

On Saturday, Curry shared video updates, as he accompanied Ross to the hospital. "Rest in peace to my brother. I was there with him. I was there with him," he said in one video.

Ross had been on dialysis for five years, according to Curry.

The former Bad Boy rapper had a history of kidney failure and diabetes, and he suffered several strokes in recent years, Deadline reported.

"Puff, I ain't talked to Puff in 15 years — we talked today," Curry added in the video, referring to Sean "Puffy" Combs. "This is the beginning of a new us. Rob made sure he knew what he had to do before he parted this world to make sure we all alright, and that's what he did. Bad boy for life, yo."

Curry and producer Mike Zombie previously started a GoFundMe to help him with medical bills and housing. "We've lost a lot legends and we can't afford to lose anymore," they wrote. "This is my way to try and help."

Combs shared a tribute on Instagram Sunday, posting a throwback photo of himself and Ross. "Rest in power King @therealblackrob!" he wrote. "As I listen to your records today there's one thing that they all have in common! You have made millions of people all over the world feel good and dance! You are one of a kind! GOD BLESS! Love. You will be truly missed!!!!"

Combs collaborated with Curry and Ross on the 2001 single "Bad Boy for Life", which appeared on his third album The Saga Continues... The track earned them a Grammy nomination for best rap performance by a duo or group, and it was most recently used for a remix in Will Smith and Martin Lawrence's 2020 film Bad Boys for Life, the third installment in their cop comedy franchise.

Black Rob
Credit: Scott Roth/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

LL Cool J paid tribute to Ross on Twitter. "Black Rob. A story teller. An MC. A gentleman every time I saw him," he wrote. "Rest in power my brother."

Comedian Eddie Griffin also expressed his condolences in a tweet. "R.I.P #BlackRob #Whoa another one taken too soon," he wrote.

Ross revealed earlier this month that he was hospitalized, appearing in a video on DJ Self's Instagram. "I don't know, the pain is crazy, man," he said in the video. "It's helping me out though, it's making me realize I got a lot to go."

Ross also sent his love to DMX, who died that day, a week after he suffered a heart attack. "I feel everything about X. X was positive. Love to X," he said.

Black Rob
Credit: Linda Rosier/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

Ross was born in Buffalo, New York, and he grew up in East Harlem, where he began rapping as a kid. He began working with Combs' Bad Boy Records in 1996, collaborating with the likes of Notorious B.I.G., Faith Evans and Ol' Dirty Bastard. He went platinum with his 2000 debut album Life Story, making it on the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 43 with his hit single "Whoa!".