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Saint Dog, a founding member of the hip-hop band Kottonmouth Kings, has died. He was 44.
The rapper, born Steven Michael Thronson, was found unresponsive at a friend's home in Victorville, California, around midnight early Wednesday morning, according to a release from the San Bernardino Sheriff Department. Saint Dog was pronounced dead at 12:10 a.m.
An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.
According to TMZ, who first reported the news, Saint Dog's friend found the star struggling to breathe inside of a bedroom and called 911 for help.
Saint Dog's death was confirmed by his management in a post shared on his Instagram on Wednesday afternoon, reading: "Rest In Peace, Rest In Power to a true underground legend."
"Saint Dog aka Saint Vicious passed away yesterday in Southern California," his management said in the statement. "Saint was a unique individual that had a profound impact on anyone he came in contact with. While Saint is no longer with us, his music will live on forever. Rest easy, King."
Suburban Noize Records — an independent record label founded by Kottonmouth Kings' Daddy X and Kevin Zinger — also paid tribute to Saint Dog in the wake of his death.
"We will miss you and your big heart. You were one of a kind and our hearts our broken. But we promise to keep your legacy alive threw your music," the record label shared in an Instagram post. "Everyone please take some time and say a few words or tell a story about our fallen brother below. He touched so many and we will keep his legacy thriving. 🙏👑♠️ #RIPSaintDog."
Saint Dog founded Kottonmouth Kings with Daddy X, D-Loc, Lou Dog and DJ Bobby B in 1996.
He appeared in the group first two EPs, 1998's Stoners Reeking Havoc and1999's Hidden Stash, as well as Kottonmouth King's debut studio album Royal Highness.
Following three releases with the Southern California group, Saint Dog left the band to pursue a solo career. His debut solo album, Ghetto Guide, was released in 2004.
After collaborating with several other acts and dropping his second solo album, USA (Unconformable Social Amputees), Saint Dog returned to Kottonmouth Kings to appear as a featured artist on their 2015 record, Krown Power.
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He officially rejoined the lineup in 2018 to release Kingdom Come.
Saint Dog's third and final solo album, Bozo, was released in 2019.
Rapper Rick Dogg said in a statement shared on social media, "Saddened to hear the loss of, not only a legend in the rap game, but fellow @force5records family member 😔."
"Rest easy @saint.dog," he added.