The musician’s manager told TMZ that he died on Thursday in a Miami hospital due to a medical complication, but did not provide further information.
Fresh, born Chris Wong Won in Trinidad and Tobago, is renowned as one of major rappers of Asian descent in hip-hop. His grandfather was Cantonese.
Along with DJ mr. Mixx and Mazing Vee, Fresh helped form 2 live Crew while serving in the Air Force stationed in California in 1984. The group expanded to include Luther Campbell, now known as Uncle Luke, when they signed with his record label shortly after. They released their debut album “The 2 Live Crew Is What We Are” in 1986.
2 Live Crew was known for their sexually explicit lyrics, which caused much controversy.
In 1990, Fresh and Luke were arrested after cops deemed one of their live performances lewd and inappropriate. That year, a federal court declared their album “As Nasty As They Wanna Be” the first legally obscene album, making it illegal for retailers in south Florida to sell. That ruling was overturned two years later. Despite the controversy, the album went double platinum and reached No. 3 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Billboard chart.
Their next album, “Banned in the U.S.A,” became the first album to be labeled with a parental advisory sticker.
The group released their eighth and last studio album in 1998.
Uncle Luke and other notable artists paid homage to Fresh Kid Ice, who was also known as “The Chinaman,” on social media.
My Condolence goes out to the family Chris Wong Wong Fresh Kid Ice of the 2 Live Crew who just passed away people we lost a legend
— LUTHER R CAMPBELL (@unclelukereal1) July 13, 2017
Dam! Just got call we lost 2 Live crew legend Fresh Kid Ice this morning! RIP 🙏🏽
— Yung Rénzél 👑 (@RickRoss) July 13, 2017
R.I.P. Fresh Kid Ice we lost another legend prayers up for his family 🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿
— juicy j (@therealjuicyj) July 13, 2017