Chris Kelly of the hip-hop duo Kriss Kross has died as a result of an apparent overdose. Kelly’s battle with drugs was well-known to his family and friends but fairly well hidden from the public despite the star’s status. An exact cause of death is pending official autopsy results but statements made by police indicate that an overdose of heroin and/or cocaine is suspected.
Chris Kelly and Chris Smith rose to fame in the 1990’s with songs like “Jump” and “Warm it Up” after being discovered in a mall by hip–hop producer Jermaine Dupri. (1) They duo were known for wearing their clothes backwards and for being extremely young – the boys were both just 13 years old when they achieved worldwide superstardom with their multiplatinum album Totally Krossed Out.
It’s uncertain how long and how severe Kelly’s drug problem was, but a police report indicates that his family had treated the 34 year old for drug-induced episodes on a number of occasions. According to the police report, Kelly’s mother, Donna Kelly Pratte, told police that;
“…they had brought Kelly home to recover from his drug use and had done this several times in the past.” (2)
Unfortunately, despite the fact that the family was aware that Chris Kelly had been taking drugs, they did not think the situation was life threatening as the musician had done this before. If early reports are correct and Kelly was indeed taking both heroin and cocaine, then an overdose finding by the coroner seems likely considering the dangers involved with mixing these two drugs.
Kelly joins a growing list of entertainers who have recently succumbed to the disease of addiction, including Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Anna Nicole Smith, Heath Ledger, Amy Winehouse and others. Interestingly, Kriss Kross once toured with Jackson in the early nineties.
While it’s unknown at this time if Kelly had ever sought help for his apparent drug problem, a press release issued jointly by Donna Kelly Pratte and Kelly’s record label So So Def said that Kelly will live on through his music:
“Though he was only with us a short time, we feel blessed to have been able to share some incredible moments with him. His legacy will live on through his music, and we will forever love him.” (3)
We can only hope that his life will serve as a message and reminder that with great fame comes great responsibility, and all too often the stress of this leads stars to disaster. No matter how talented or special a person is; rich or poor, young or old, addiction does not discriminate and the only real cure is to never start in the first place.
May you rest peacefully, Chris Kelly.