Christopher ‘Big Black’ Boykin of ‘Rob & Big Fame’ dies at 45 of heart attack

When I was in college, one of the most popular shows to watch was Rob & Big on MTV. It aired from 2006 to 2008. The antics of stars Rob Dyrdek and BFF Christopher “Big Black” Boykin were hilarious, and their friendship, one between a professional skateboarder and his bodyguard, genuine. Boykin was particularly comical and full of life. So imagine the shock and sadness so many felt yesterday when news broke that Boykin had passed away abruptly at the age of 45.

According to PEOPLE, a rep for the former reality star confirmed that he’d died following a heart attack. And while the magazine cited the star as 6’6″ and 375 pounds, since the end of his Rob & Big days, Boykin had lost weight. According to TMZ though, a week prior to his death, he was hospitalized in Plano, Texas to have his heart health monitored. Boykin was already having heart issues and even had a defibrillator implanted.

MTV issued a statement upon learning of the star’s death.

“MTV is deeply saddened to learn the news of Christopher ‘Big Black’ Boykin’s passing,” it read. “He was a longtime and beloved member of the MTV family and will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends at this time.”

As for Drydek, he shared an emotional message for Boykin on Instagram, saying his “heart is broken”:

He leaves behind a 9-year-old daughter named Isis Rae Boykin that he had during his marriage to ex-wife Shannon Turley. According to TMZ, despite their marriage ending in 2009, he recently started staying with Turley in Texas so that she could aid him as his heart health declined. She also confirmed the news very early this morning and shared the following message: