Brooklyn battle rap pillar Robert "PH" Diaz died in hospital on Tuesday (June 9), a source close to his family has confirmed. The cause of death has not been confirmed by the family, but reports indicate that he had been admitted to the hospital for gallstones on Monday and then found unresponsive early Tuesday morning. He was 39.
PH's history in battle rap goes back to the earliest days of the scene, and his roots in New York hip hop go back even further. Tributes from the hip-hop community have flooded social media since the news of his death went public on Tuesday morning.
He was already an established underground artist when he stepped into the Grind Time ring for the first time in the late 2000s and throughout his career faced some of the biggest names of the GT-era, including Dizaster and Dumbfoundead. He also served as the president of the league's East Coast division.
In 2012, he got a KOTD title shot after a lengthy winning streak over Skelly, Sketch Menace, Aftershock, Arcane and The Saurus.
The Team Homi crewmember's final battle was against Yung Casper at a GZ event in Toronto on May 31.
On a personal level, PH was known for his warm personality and humility. He leaves behind a wife, two sons and has a daughter on the way. Donate to his memorial fund here.
Here's some of his earliest footage, from 1998:
An older highlight reel:
And a track from his acclaimed 2005 album Orange Moon Over Brooklyn:
We at BattleRap.com extend our condolences to his friends, family and fans.