Rapper and Diddy protege Craig Mack dies at 46

Craig Mack
Johnny Nunez  WireImage

Mack's cause of death has been confirmed as heart failure and reportedly he passed away in a hospital near his SC home on Monday.

The Long Island, N.Y, native at one time was part of Diddy's Bad Boy Entertainment, which released his first album, Project: Funk da World, anchored by Flava in Ya Ear, which was nominated for a Grammy.

While Mack hadn't been in the limelight for quite some time-last surfacing in a 2016 video taken at a controversial church in South Carolina-Sermon says the documentary will reveal just how bad of a shape the rapper was in.

Mack returned to music in 2017 and released an album.

The New York Daily News reports that Mack did not expect to live long after battling an undisclosed illness.

After news of Mack's death broke, lots of hip hop stars began giving their condolences.

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Alvin Toney, Mack's longtime friend and producer, was in the middle of making a documentary that highlighted his mission to serve God. He released "Flava in Ya Ear" on July 26, 1994, while Biggie's "Juicy" hit airwaves on August 8, 1994. Before the Notorious B.I.G.'s Ready to Die became a tipping point for the genre and startup record label, Mack was its anchor. "You stepped away from the game and did it your way.I always respected that", tweeted LL Cool J, adding #RIPCraigMack.

"Flava in Ya Ear" was produced by Easy Mo Bee who began his career working with Miles Davis. Combs was placing a bet on two artists instead of one- Notorious B.I.G. and Craig Mack.

Sermon should know: In January he featured Mack alongside Mr. Cheeks and Method Man in "Come Thru", off his Kickstarter-funded album Go. I wanted the world to know the talent he had.

Craig Mack is survived by a wife and two adult children.

Tributes to Mack have poured out on social media.

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