Hip-hop photographer Ricky Powell dies of heart failure

Ricky Powell
vis @IthakaDarinPappas/Wikipedia

The renowned hip-hop photographer has passed away.

Ricky Powell died of heart failure yesterday (1 February), at the age of 59. His manager, Tono Radvany, wrote: “I just want to let everybody know he was a very special man, and he will be sorely missed.”

The photographer was referred to as the ‘fourth member’ of the Beastie Boys. A key figure in hip-hop, he photographed Public Enemy, Run DMC, Eazy-E, LL Cool J, Eric B. & Rakim and more. Outside of hip-hop he photographed artists and cultural figures in New York’s downtown party scene, such as Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Madonna and Keith Haring.

The American photographer released numerous books over the course of his career. In 1998 he published his first: the 10-year retrospective Oh Snap!: The Rap Photography of Ricky Powell.

QTip, DJ Semtex and more have paid tribute to the photographer online. Read below.