Hip Hop lost a pioneer today (January 24) with the news that WorldStarHipHop founder Lee “Q” O’Denat has died.
Details are scant at this point, but TMZ reports that Q passed away in his sleep at the age of 43. Their source says he died of a heart attack, although an autopsy will happen later today.
Q, who grew up in Queens, New York, started WorldStarHipHop in 2005 as a platform for mixtapes. The site evolved to become a hub for music videos and outrageous clips. WorldStar has been criticized for the graphic nature of its content, but Q explained his vision for the company in a 2015 interview with the New York Times.
“Hip-hop is for the sex, the drugs, the violence, the beefs, the culture,” he said. “That’s the competitiveness of Hip Hop, so I felt like the site needed to be R-rated.”
Reports of Q’s death come just ahead of the February 3 premiere of Worldstar TV on MTV2. The weekly show will feature comedians and Hip Hop personalities reacting to clips from the site.
He leaves behind three children.
Here are some of the initial reactions from around the Hip Hop community.
Wow, RIP World Star Q. As as complicated of a legacy as it gets, but easily one of the most influential hip-hop figures of the millennium.
— Otto Von Biz Markie (@Passionweiss) January 24, 2017
Rip Q from Worldstar damn I'm mad sad right now god bless the family
— N.O.R.E (@noreaga) January 24, 2017
RIP @qworldstar 🙏🏽 God bless ya family & friends. You was a real solid,stand-up dude. We can't thank you enough for all you've done for all of US!!! You were always pleasant & positive through all the madness. You built a brand that changed the course of culture. Your legacy will live on. On behalf of The Harris Family, BankRoll Mafia & The Hustle Gang, We offer our truest & deepest condolences. With Love & Respect. Rest Easy King. #RIPQ
Rest in Peace to Q from Worldstar. Condolences to his family and the hard working staff over at Worldstar.
— DJ Akademiks (@IamAkademiks) January 24, 2017
Q was a pioneer, and what he did to internet video with "WorldStar" is comparable to what Xerox did to photocopiers. #RIP
— Noah Callahan-Bever (@N_C_B) January 24, 2017
— Organik – KOTDTV.com (@OrganikHipHop) January 24, 2017
HipHopDX sends its condolences to the family and friends of Lee “Q” O’Denat.