New York City hip hop veteran DJ Kay Slay has passed away after a four-month battle with COVID-19. He was 55.

Hot 97, where Slay hosted The Drama Hour, posted a statement from Slay's family, which reads, "Our hearts are broken by the passing of Keith Grayson, professionally known as DJ Kay Slay. A dominant figure in hip-hop culture with millions of fans worldwide, DJ Kay Slay will be remembered for his passion and excellence with a legacy that will transcend generations. In memory of DJ Kay Slay, our family wishes to thank all of his friends, fans, and supporters for their prayers and well wishes during this difficult time. We ask that you respect our privacy as we grieve this tragic loss."

Slay first gained attention as a graffiti artist, before becoming a prominent DJ within NYC's mixtape scene, known for featuring exclusive and unreleased music in his mixtapes. He later launched the magazine Straight Stuntin. He's also known for his massive "Rolling [X] Deep" posse cuts.

"We cherish the many memories created through the twenty-plus years he dedicated to the 'Drama Hour,' Hot 97 said. "A cultural icon, The Streetsweeper Kay Slay was more than just a DJ, to us he was family and a vital part of what made HOT 97 the successful station it is today."

Hip hop promoter Van Silk said to HipHopDX, "Hip Hop lost a real gem. My dear brother is gone. I’ve known him since he was 16 years old. He was my little brother. I introduced him to many and we did a lot of things together. We last talked December because we were finishing up the 200 rolling deep project. He was gonna do his video part with MC Sha-Rock."

"From the mixtapes to helping him launch Straight Stuntin‘ magazine and the whole What The Science project, the world not only lost a real dedicated person to the culture of Hip Hop but a source of bridging the gap in Hip Hop," Silk continued. "I’m gonna miss my little brother."

Rest in peace, DJ Kay Slay. Listen to some of his music and read more tributes below...

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