Big Bank Hank, the New York rapper who, as part of the Sugarhill Gang, released what is generally regarded as the first rap record, has died at the age of 57.
The performer, real name Henry Jackson, died from kidney complications due to cancer, according to reports.
Jackson formed the Sugarhill Gang with Master Gee and Wonder Mic, having a big hit in 1979 with Rapper’s Delight.
The record sold several million copies worldwide and helped establish rap as the genre it is today.
The full version of Rapper’s Delight ran nearly 16 minutes long and was recorded in a single take.
The song – famous for its “hip, hip, a hop” refrain – featured ‘Big Bank’ introducing himself as “six foot one and tons of fun”.
The trio continued to perform together and spent three weeks in the UK singles chart in 1982 with The Lover In You.
Jackson’s death was reported by website TMZ and confirmed to Fox News by David Mallie, who manages the two remaining band members.
“So sad to hear of our brother’s passing,” said Wonder Mike and Master Gee in a statement. “Rest in peace Big Bank.”