12:34 17 November 2009
British rapper Derek B has died aged 44 after suffering a heart attack, it has been reported.
Derek Bowland, otherwise known as Derek B, is credited as one of the founding fathers of UK hip-hop.
The London-born rapper had top 20 hits with 'Good Groove' and 'Bad Young Brother' in 1988, as well as co-writing the Anfield Rap for Liverpool Football Club.
Bowland started his career aged 15, DJing on pirate radio stations LWS and KISS. 'Rock the Beat', his first rap track, was a surprise success in 1986, and a trail of breakthrough hits followed making him one of the first British hip-hop stars ever to appear on 'Top of the Pops'.
Derek B's friend Simon Harris, who founded the Music Is Life record label where the star worked, paid tribute: "It is with great sadness that I heard the terrible news that Derek Boland has passed away. Derek was a wonderful person and a great talent, it was a privilege to have known and worked with him over the last 25 years.
"Derek was always a huge inspiration to me and can never be replaced, his tragic death at such a young age is a great loss to everyone who has known him and also his many fans."
As news of his passing filters through the internet, eulogies on Twitter include BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe, who said Boland's 1988 debut 'Bullet From A Gun' "was a massive album for me", while singer Estelle described him as a "UK originator". London MC Ty said: "In this time of forgetfulness, let's just say ... HE PAVED THE WAY for any rappers mc grime artists to be in the mainstream ... No question."
Bowland would have celebrated his 45th birthday on January 15.
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