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'Big Bank Hank' of trailblazing Sugarhill Gang dies at 57

'Big Bank Hank' of trailblazing Sugarhill Gang dies at 57
Henry "Big Bank Hank" Jackson of the Sugarhill Gang performs at the Justin Timberlake and Friends Old School Jam in Las Vegas in 2011. Jackson died Tuesday at the age of 57. (David Becker, Getty Images)

Henry Lee Jackson, better known as "Big Bank Hank" of pioneer rap trio the Sugarhill Gang, has died at the age of 57.

Jackson died Tuesday morning at a hospital in Englewood, N.J., of complications from cancer, according to David Mallie, business manager for the two remaining members of the original Sugarhill Gang.

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The band's iconic 1979 breakthrough single, "Rapper's Delight," was considered a watershed moment for rap and hip-hop music, though it only made it to No. 36 on the national charts.

In a statement released by Mallie, Guy "Master Gee" O'Brien and Michael "Wonder Mike" Wright mourned Jackson's death.

"So sad to hear about our brother's passing. The three of us created musical history together," the statement said. "We will always remember traveling the world together and rocking the house."

Jackson was born Jan. 11, 1957 in the Bronx, Mallie said.

He was working as a bouncer and a waiter at a pizza joint when Sylvia Robinson heard him rapping some lyrics. She arranged to record him and two friends, and "Rapper's Delight" was born.

The group later dissolved in the early 1980s, though in 2004 Wright and Jackson were touring as the Sugarhill Gang with Joey Robinson Jr. as "Master Gee."

No information on survivors was immediately available.

For more breaking news, follow me @cmaiduc

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