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Darren Robinson, 28; 450-Pound Rapper

<i> From Times Staff and Wire Reports</i>

Darren Robinson, a 450-pound rapper dubbed the “human beat box” for his percussive belches and grunts, died over the weekend while singing for friends at his home. He was 28.

Robinson, a member of the Fat Boys whose first album went gold, collapsed and died early Sunday.

The cause of death was under investigation. His brother, Curt Robinson, said he had been fighting the flu. And Linda West, a manager for the Fat Boys, said Robinson had recently been found to have lymph edema, a fluid buildup.

“He was doing one of his songs, and at the end of the session he got off the couch and was climbing on a studio chair when he fell and lost his wind,” his brother told reporters. “I tried to give him mouth-to-mouth, but he just couldn’t make it.”

Paramedics called to Darren Robinson’s home at 3 a.m. were unable to revive the rapper. The medical examiner has yet to determine the cause of death.

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Robinson, Mark “Prince Markie Dee” Morales and Damon “Kool Rockski” Wimbley--total weight topping 800 pounds--were called Disco 3 when they won a rap contest in Brooklyn in 1984.

That led to a record deal and a European tour during which they racked up hotel room service bills that were so high their angry promoter renamed them the Fat Boys.

Their first album, “Fat Boys,” went gold, and showed them to be funny, clever, uninhibited rappers.

“People like us,” Robinson told The Times during a visit to Los Angeles in 1987, “because we’re wild and crazy and we like to have fun. . . . People like people who eat.”

The group’s second and third albums sold millions of copies and they were featured in the films “Krush Groove” and “Disorderlies.”

Robinson and the other members of the group agreed about 10 days ago to do a reunion album, said another group manager, Charles Stettler. He said Robinson had finished the voice tracks, and that Morales and Wimbley will finish the project and dedicate it to him.

Robinson is also survived by his father, Johnny; his mother, Elveen; two sisters and a 5-year-old son, Quinton.


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