Fellow Long Island rapper and producer Erick Sermon also announced his passing on Sunday in a post on Instagram.
"This one hurts,” his caption read. “From Long Island from one of the best rap groups in Hip Hop # Delasoul #plug2. Dave has passed away you will be missed… RIP. “
Prince Paul, who produced De La Soul’s first three albums, shared a tribute to Trugoy on Twitter.
“You have no idea how much pain in this last year. Dave love you bro a blessing we got a chance to unite again. Divine power. Literally no words anymore. De la soul forever,” his post read.
Previously, Trugoy, who also went by aliases Plug 2 and Dave, was open about his health struggles revealing that he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure.
“I’m ready just to get back to the stage,” he said in De La Soul’s “Royalty Capes” video. “I miss that. I love traveling. I love being around my guys and I want that back.” During the Grammys’ hip-hop tribute performance last week, Trugoy did not perform with his group mates.
No cause of death has been given.
Born David Jude Jolicoeur, he was born in Brooklyn but raised in the Amityville area of Long Island, where he formed De La Soul alongside Posdnuos and Maseo in 1988. Eventually, their music was heard by Prince Paul, who went on to produce their classic debut album 3 Feet High and Rising in 1989. The LP became the band's biggest commercial success and is regarded as one of the landmark albums in the history of hip hop. In 2010, the album was added to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry.
The group's second album, De La Soul Is Dead, was released in May 1991 and was critically acclaimed. The album became one of the first to receive a five-mic rating by The Source and was ranked 228 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list.
De La Soul also founded the Native Tongues, an alternative hip hop collective that featured Jungle Brothers, A Tribe Called Quest and Black Sheep.
In their extensive discography, De La Soul would release other highly regarded albums such Buhloone Mindstate, Stakes Is High, Art Official Intelligence, The Grind Date and many more. Their most recent album And the Anonymous Nobody was released in 2016.
Over the course of their remarkable career that spanned over 30 years, De La Soul was nominated for six Grammy Awards, winning in 2006 for their collaboration with Gorillaz on the single "Feel Good Inc."
Trugoy’s passing follows the recent announcement that many of De La Soul’s albums will be available for streaming after battling with their former label Tommy Boy Records about legal and publishing rights for decades. In 2021, Reservoir acquired Tommy Boy Records, making it possible for their entire catalog to hit streaming services.
“You think that you own your stuff and that now it’s on cruise control, waiting for the checks to come in. But it is not that way at all. There’s a lot to do,” Trygoy said in an interview with Billboard. “You do need collaborators, you do need help, you do need to rework back into the system and not necessarily be the lone commissioner of this project. You need allies, you need companies to work with, you need people to hire, and we learned a big lesson from that. It definitely wasn’t just, “We got our masters back!” It ain’t that.”
Tributes poured in from many hip hop luminaries in response to Trugoy's passing.
“Dave! It was a honor to share so many stages with you,” wrote Big Daddy Kane on Instagram.
Young Guru added, “Rest in peace my brother. You were loved. @plugwondelasoul I love you brother we are here for you. Smiles I love you bro. This is crazy” and DJ Semtex wrote that it was “heart-wrenching news.”
We at EBONY extend our prayers and deepest condolences to the family and friends of Dave Jolicoeur.