The news of Heron's death came by way of Twitter, through Jamie Byng, his UK publisher. "Just heard the very sad news that my dear friend and one of the most inspiring people I've ever met, the great Gil Scott-Heron, died today," Byng wrote Friday (May 28).
Heron was known for his work as a spoken word performer in the 1970s and '80s. The entertainer collaborated with musician Brian Jackson on a number of albums including 'Winter in America,' 'Get Back,' The First Minute of a New Day' and 'From South Africa to South Carolina,' among others. His solo studio albums included works like 'Small Talk at 125th and Lenox,' 'Pieces of a Man,' 'Free Will' and 'Winter in America,' to name a few.
Despite his battle with cocaine and his HIV infection, the icon never let that deter his spirit or quiet his voice, combining music and poetry and inspiring many artists after him to include spoken-word artistry into their music.
Heron's death has not gone unnoticed in the hip-hop community, as veteran MC Chuck D, of Public Enemy, took to his Twitter account to express his sentiments on the passing of a true legend. "RIP GSH..and we do what we do and how we do because of you.And to those that don't know tip your hat with a hand over your heart & recognize," Chuck D wrote.
Gil Scott-Heron is survived by his wife, Brenda Sykes, and daughter, Gia.