NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 25:  Prodigy of Mobb Deep visits SiriusXM Studios on February 25, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by S
Prodigy in 2014 (Slaven Vlasic)

Mobb Deep's Prodigy, superlatively influential NYC emcee, has died at 42. "QB RIP King P," Nas wrote early Tuesday afternoon on Instagram, shocking rap fans everywhere. "Prodigy 4 Ever."

Prodigy was born Albert Johnson in Hempstead, N.Y. and battled sickle cell anemia since birth. He was taken to a Las Vegas hospital for complications following a live set on the third annual Art of Rap Tour on Saturday. That same day, he posted this new pic:

His cause of death remains unknown to the public. Here's his publicist's statement:

"It is with extreme sadness and disbelief that we confirm the death of our dear friend Albert Johnson, better known to millions of fans as Prodigy of legendary NY rap duo Mobb Deep. Prodigy was hospitalized a few days ago in Vegas after a Mobb Deep performance for complications caused by a sickle cell anemia crisis. As most of his fans know, Prodigy battled the disease since birth. The exact causes of death have yet to be determined. We would like to thank everyone for respecting the family's privacy at this time."

Prodigy and Havoc released their debut Mobb Deep record, Juvenile Hell, in 1993. Prodigy started dropping solo albums in 2000 with H.N.I.C. and dropped No. 5, Hegelian Dialectic (The Book of Revelation), back in February. In April he showed up on AZ's "Save Them" alongside Raekwon.

Mobb Deep came back in 2014 with their eighth full-length, The Infamous Mobb Deep, after their first-ever extended break between albums, which stretched eight years. In 2011 Prodigy ended a three-year jail sentence for a weapon possession charge; it led to the publication of Commissary Kitchen: My Infamous Prison Cookbook last fall.

The hip-hop community's tributes started pouring in instantaneously:

Watch a Fuse interview with Mobb Deep: