When actor and hip-hop star Dwight "Heavy D" Myers passed away suddenly in November, millions of his fans were in shock. But those who knew him best say the self-proclaimed "Overweight Lover" was healthy and poised for a major comeback after taking off time to raise his daughter. NY1's Cheryl Wills filed this first part of her exclusive two-part report.
Talented, funny and playful, the chubby Mount Vernon kid once known as Dwight Myers became the hip-hop sensation "Heavy D," when his group "Heavy D And The Boys" hit the music scene in the 1990s.
"A wonderful spirit and he was comfortable in his skin," said Glen Parrish, a member of Heavy D and the Boys.
Standing 6-feet-3-inches tall and still light on his feet, Heavy D earned the respect of some of the biggest names in Hollywood, such as like Jamie Foxx, Ashton Kutcher, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Mary J. Blige and Sean "Diddy" Combs. Yet those who knew him best say Heavy D was a man of integrity.
"There were things he could do to make money and then there were things he wouldn't do no matter how much money it was. His image and his reputation meant the world to him," said Floyd Myers, Heavy D's brother.
The 44-year-old rapper collapsed outside his Beverly Hills home in November after returning from a London engagement. Heavy D suffered a pulmonary embolism, which is a blockage of arteries in the lungs that can strike anyone without warning.
"My mind is always going, 'What if he could've did this?' or 'Maybe it could've been stopped?' Your head just starts to think crazy," said Portia Myers Davis, Heavy D's sister.
"He was healthy, he ran 12 miles a day," said Floyd Myers.
At one point, Heavy D lost more than more than 100 pounds and was on a strict diet. He took time off to raise his only child, 12-year-old Xea, and at the time of his death was working on a new album.
"Too young, too soon, too unexpected. Even now, it's real, it's not real. It still seems to be somewhat of a dream," said Demetrius Davis, Heavy D's brother-in-law.