(CNN) — David Jude Jolicoeur, better known under stage name Trugoy the Dove as one third of iconic rap trio De La Soul, has died.
The news was confirmed to CNN via Tony Ferguson, the music group’s publicist. Jolicoeur was 54 years old. Ferguson said Jolicoeur’s passing was “a huge loss” in a phone call to CNN.
Jolicoeur, a Brooklyn, NY native is widely considered to be one of the most influential hip-hop artists of the 1980s and 1990s to produce music in the genre that reflected a gentler tone.
Jolicoeur and De La Soul members Vincent Manson, known as Pasemaster Mase, and Kelvin Mercer, known as Posdnuos, formed the rap trio in 1988 after attending high school together in Amityville, New York.
De La Soul released their debut album “3 Feet High and Rising” in 1989 that included the hit “Me, Myself and I,” which spent 17 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The album’s interlude skits, conceptual sound and samplings of James Brown’s music influenced artists such as A Tribe Called Quest, Public Enemy and N.W.A. to emulate the group’s unique style.
“I think the element of that time of what was taking place in music, hip-hop, and our culture, I think it welcomed that and opened up minds and spirits to see and try new different things,” Jolicoeur told Billboard last month.
Over the course of their performing career, De La Soul was nominated for six Grammy Awards, winning one for best pop collaboration with vocals for “Feel Good Inc.” in 2006.
“The Magic Number,” another song off their debut album “3 Feet High and Rising,” was featured as the end-credit song in “Spider-man: No Way Home” in 2021.
The placement of the hippie-inspired song in “No Way Home” drew in renewed interest in De La Soul, but the song wasn’t available on streaming services due to decades of legal complications related to sample clearances with group’s former label Tommy Boy Records.
Since Reservoir Media acquired De La Soul’s catalog in 2021, the way was cleared for the legendary trio to finally stream their music on popular streaming sites. The group’s first six albums will be available to stream in March 2023, according to Billboard.
The most recent album that Jolicoeur and De La Soul released was “And the Anonymous Nobody…” in 2016.
De La Soul was scheduled to perform three shows in the United Kingdom starting April 8, 2023.
“Trugoy Dave from De La Soul has gone up to be with the day of the stars with the Master,” singer Pharell Williams said in a tribute on Twitter. “Sending love, light and positive vibrations to his family, The Soul and everyone whose lives have been touched by his existence.”
Rapper and producer Erick Sermon also honored Jolicoeur, sharing on Instagram, “This one hurts. From Long Island from one of the best rap groups in Hiphop # Delasoul #plug2 Dave has passed away you will be missed… RIP”
The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.