Family, friends, and fans of hip-hop star Heavy D are still in shock over his untimely death Tuesday in front of his Beverly Hills home. As a private funeral and public memorial are being planned in New York next week, more details about his struggles with his weight are coming to light.
While the cause of death has not yet been determined, it is believed to be related to a respiratory issue.
According to TMZ, Heavy D, who was 44-years-old and weighed 344 pounds at the time of death had recently resumed a workout regimen. He was also an established actor, appearing on "Law & Order: SVU," "Boston Public," and the new comedy blockbuster "Tower Heist."
One of Heavy's trainers discussed a fitness program with him three months ago at the Ultra Body Fitness gym in West Hollywood, TMZ reports. In 2008, this same trainer, named Tony, helped Heavy D lose 150 pounds.
Heavy D was reportedly frequenting a number of local gyms, and doing a variety of exercises including running, hiking, and boxing. Tony described Hev as a hard worker, recalling times when he worked out nearly every day.
Heavy also experienced another significant weight loss in 2002. Then, he lost 135 pounds, an accomplishment motivated by his desire to secure more acting work. In a 2003 interview with the Television Critics Association, Heavy recalled advice from a director.
"I went on a couple auditions, and one director was kind enough to say, 'Look, you would've had this part but you're not fitting, you're stifling yourself," Heavy told TCA. "He was right. I kind of always knew it in the back of my mind, and I just woke up on a Tuesday and I just kept going."
Heavy D will indeed be missed. Ironically, he released his last album, 'Love Opus," in September, and left the simple yet poignant message "BE INSPIRED!" on his Twitter page the day before he died.
Watch music experts discuss Heavy D's death and Conrad Murray's conviction
Check the links before for more information on this week's stories, and be sure to check back next week for another music news roundup.
THIS WEEK'S TOP 5 MUSIC NEWS STORIES
Peaceful Journey -- Heavy D dies at 44.
Murder Was The Case -- Conrad Murray is found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
Touchdown -- Hank Williams Jr. jokes about ESPN on CMAs.
Sneak Peak -- New Madonna song "Give Me All Your Love" leaks.
Musical Chairs -- EMI split in half, sold to Universal and Sony.