Dwight Errington Myers (May 24, 1967 - November 8, 2011), better known as Heavy D, was a Jamaican-born American rapper, record producer, singer, actor, and former leader of Heavy D & the Boyz, a hip hop group which included dancers/background vocalists G-Whiz (Glen Parrish), "Trouble" T. Roy (Troy Dixon), and Eddie F (born Edward Ferrell). The group maintained a sizable audience in the United States through most of the 1990s. The five albums the group released were produced by Teddy Riley, Marley Marl, DJ Premier, his cousin Pete Rock and Eddie F.
Myers was born on May 24, 1967 in Mandeville, Jamaica, the son of Eulahlee Lee, a nurse, and Clifford Vincent Myers, a machine technician. In the early 1970s his family moved to Mount Vernon, New York, where he was raised.
Heavy D & the Boyz were the first group signed to Uptown Records, with Heavy D as the frontman and only rapper. Eddie F was his business partner in the group, DJ, and one of the producers. The other two members, T-Roy and G-Wiz were the dancers. Their debut, Living Large, was released in 1987. The album was a commercial success; Big Tyme was a breakthrough that included four hits.
Dancer Troy "Trouble T. Roy" Dixon died at age 22 in a fall on July 15, 1990, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Dixon's death led to a tribute on the follow-up platinum album, Peaceful Journey. Pete Rock & CL Smooth created a tribute to Trouble T. Roy called "They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)" which is regarded as a hip hop classic.
Heavy D performed a guest rap on Janet Jackson's hit single "Alright". It was notably the first pop single to feature a rapper, setting the trend for future hip-hop and pop collaborations. It was also his highest peaking song on the Billboard Hot 100. A year later, he appeared on Michael Jackson's single "Jam". He gained even more fame by singing the theme song for the television program In Living Color and also MADtv. Heavy D then began focusing on his acting, appearing in various television shows before returning to the music charts with Nuttin' But Love. After appearing in the off-Broadway play Riff Raff at Circle Repertory Company, Heavy D returned to recording with the hit Waterbed Hev. In 1997, Heavy D collaborated with B.B. King on his duets album Deuces Wild, rapping in the song "Keep It Coming." Heavy D was referred to in the song "Juicy" by the Notorious B.I.G., and appeared in his music video for "One More Chance."
While still an artist at Uptown Records, Myers was instrumental in convincing Andre Harrell to originally hire Sean "Diddy" Combs for his first music business gig as an intern. Then, also to his credit, in the mid-1990s, Myers became the first rapper to head a major music label when he became the president of Uptown Records. During this time, Myers also developed the Rhythm and Blues boy band Soul for Real, and was the executive producer and principal writer of several songs on the group's breakout album, Candy Rain. He later became senior vice president at Universal Music.
He fathered a daughter in 2000 during a relationship with chef Antonia Lofaso, a contestant on Top Chef.
Heavy D and Eddie F performed at the 2011 BET Hip Hop Awards on October 29, 2011. It was their first televised live performance in 15 years and would be his final live performance. Myers died just 10 days later, on November 8, 2011, in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 44. He collapsed outside his Beverly Hills home and was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Heavy D's death was initially thought to be connected to pneumonia.
An autopsy report, released on December 27, 2011, stated that the cause of death was a pulmonary embolism (PE). The coroner's office found that Myers died of a PE that had broken off from a deep vein thrombosis in the leg. He also suffered from heart disease. The blood clot that resulted in the PE was "most likely formed during an extended airplane ride," said Craig Harvey, chief of the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner. The rapper had recently returned from a trip to Cardiff, Wales where he performed at a tribute to Michael Jackson.
Shortly after his death, MC Hammer and others led tributes for Heavy D on Twitter. Hammer Tweeted: We had a lot of great times touring together. He had a heart of gold. He was a part of what's good about the world.