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Rico Wade, OutKast collaborator and Organized Noize member, dies at 52

Rico Wade, one third of the Atlanta rap production group Organized Noize and a key early collaborator with OutKast, has died at the age of 52.

The news was confirmed by his family in a statement. “We are deeply saddened by the sudden and unexpected passing of our son, father, husband and brother Rico Wade,” it read.

“Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of a talented individual who touched the lives of so many. We ask that you respect the legacy of our loved one and our privacy at this time.”

No cause of death has been made available.

Another of Wade’s longtime friends and collaborators was Killer Mike, who shared the news on his Instagram. “I don’t have the words to express my deep and profound sense of loss,” he wrote.

“I am praying for your wife and children. I am praying for the Wade family. I am praying for us all. I deeply appreciate your acceptance into the Dungeon Family, mentorship, friendship and brotherhood. Idk where I would be without y’all.”

Born in East Point, Georgia on February 26, 1972, Wade founded Organized Noize in Atlanta in the early 1990s with Sleepy Brown and Ray Murray, going on to co-write and produce TLC’s ‘Waterfalls’, and produce En Vogue’s ‘Don’t Let Go’ and Ludacris’ ‘Saturday (Oooh! Ooooh!)’. They also helmed OutKast’s 1994 debut ‘Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik’, and contributed to the subsequent albums ‘ATLiens’, ‘Aquemini’ and ‘Stankonia’.

The three producers also founded the Dungeon Family collective in the same period, which would go on to include Big Boi, André 3000, CeeLo Green, Killer Mike, Big Rube, Big Gipp, Khujo and eventually Wade’s cousin Future.

“We are devastated by the news of the passing of our dear brother Rico Wade,” Organized Noize and the Dungeon Family said in a joint statement. “The world has lost one of the most innovative architects in music, and we have lost an invaluable friend.”

“Rico was the cornerstone of Organized Noize and the Dungeon Family, and we will forever treasure his memory and the moments we shared, creating music as a united team. Our hearts weigh heavy with sorrow, and we kindly request privacy and empathy during this challenging period. Rico’s presence will always have a special spot in our hearts, and in the music we presented to the world.”

Wade is survived by his mother, two sons, wife and a number of brothers and sisters.

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