Andre R. Young Jr. had been out with friends the night before and was discovered in his bed by his mother at 10:24 a.m. Saturday, Los Angeles County coroner's spokesman Ed Winter said.
Andre Young Sr., professionally known as Dr. Dre, released a statement to the media through a representative.
"Dr. Dre is mourning the loss of his son Andre Young Jr. Please respect his family's grief and privacy at this time," his publicist, Lori Earl, said in the statement.
Young Jr. was the subject of a paternity dispute in 1990 when his mother, Jenita Porter, filed a lawsuit against Dr. Dre in Orange County Superior Court, seeking $5,000-a-month child support.
She said in the suit that although Young promised to support their then 2-year-old son before his birth, she had received only a small amount of cash, a few gifts and diapers during their four-year relationship.
In a legal answer to the suit, Dr. Dre, who was 25 at the time, admitted being the father of the child but said he promised to pay only $500 a month in support.
Over the last two decades, multi-platinum-selling record producer Dr. Dre has become one of the biggest hitmakers in hip hop. The Compton-born founder and chief executive of Aftermath Entertainment helped change the face of music by innovating the sound of gangsta rap with his incendiary group N.W.A in the 1980s.
After stepping from the production booth into the limelight with his smash solo albums "The Chronic" (1992) and "The Chronic 2001" (1999) -- both odes to an industrial-strength strain of indigenous California marijuana -- he elevated several of the current rap era's biggest stars from obscurity to superstardom. Among them: 50 Cent, Eminem, Snoop Dogg and Compton rapper the Game. Dr. Dre's music is also closely associated with the rise of slain gangsta rapper Tupac Shakur.
In recent months, Dr. Dre had been at work on his self-proclaimed "final" album, "Detox," one of the most eagerly awaited rap records of the decade.