It’s a sad day for the music industry.  Chris Kelly, who was one half of the rap duo, Kris Kross, has died of a possible drug overdose according to CNN.  The 34-year-old was found unresponsive in his Atlanta home yesterday, and was later pronounced dead around 5pm that evening.

Authorities are investigating the death but a female friend at the scene told paramedics that he had taken a mixture of cocaine and heroin. She was with him after bringing him home “to recover from his drug use.” An autopsy is planned for Thursday.

This is one of those times when a celebrity death takes you totally by surprise.  Of course, the pair’s fame had died down since releasing “Jump” (which stayed in the top spot on the Billboard 100 for eight weeks back in 1992) but it’s not like we heard anything negative about them in the tabloids.

Anyone who listened to music in the 90s will remember the spunky young rappers who had a penchant for wearing their clothes backwards, and even served as an opening act during Michael Jackson’s Dangerous World Tour.

Kelly and his bandmate, Chris Smith, were just 13 years old when Jermaine Dupri discovered them at an Atlanta mall in 1991. Along with “Jump” Kris Kross also found success with “Warm It Up” from their Totally Krossed Out album.

The loss is already being felt within the entertainment community.  Here are some notable quotes:

“I’m wearing my clothes to work backwards tomorrow”-  Michael Skolnik, Editor-in-Chief of Global Grind.

“We often heard him playing classical music and the piano.  He was a low-key type of person who was very talented and courteous, friendly and wonderful to our 5-year-old twins. Indeed, gone too soon.” – Leslie Tookes, a CNN project coordinator who also lived next door to Kelly.

“REST IN PEACE TO MY LIL BRO CHRIS KELLY OF KRIS KROSS. Dam wasn’t we JUST at rehearsal and doin a So So Def20 show?” – Da Brat.

His family also released a short statement: “To millions of fans worldwide, he was the trendsetting, backwards pants-wearing one-half of Kris Kross who loved making music. But to us, he was just Chris — the kind, generous and fun-loving life of the party.”

Kris Kross reunited earlier this year in February as part of the 20th anniversary of Dupri’s So So Def record label.   Aside from their debut effort, Kris Kross also released two follow-up albums, Da Bomb (1993) and Young, Rich and Dangerous (1996).

No funeral arrangements or details have been made public at this time.

photo credit: nomen.nescio via photopin