Craig Mack, the once-famous rapper from New York who rose to fame and denounced his hip-hop career for a life devoted to faith in rural South Carolina, has died, his family and authorities confirmed.
Colleton County Coroner Richard Harvey said Mack died of natural causes just before 9 p.m. Monday. He was 47.
"I lost a huge piece of my entire world," wrote Mack's daughter, Amanda, in a Facebook post. "Dad I love you and I'm gonna miss you so much. It wasn't always perfect, but you did what you could to be my hero. Watch over me from now until we meet again."
For the better part of the past decade, Mack has been associated with a religious compound near Walterboro known as Overcomer Ministry, a group that lives off a self-sustaining farm while they await the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Mack is perhaps the most widely known member of the religious group, though he did not live on the compound. Instead, Mack had a home nearby and could often be seen at sermons that were streamed on the ministry's website and YouTube page.
The rapper rose to prominence in 1994 with the Bad Boy Records label, and his single “Flava in Ya Ear” earned a Grammy nomination.
In a 1995 profile published by The New York Times, he was lauded as "an icon in the larger-than-life world of rap," though Mack, then 24, told the newspaper "not even the trappings of fame" had changed him.
"I don't always want to be known as the 'Flava in Ya Ear' man," Mack told The Times. "This first album was just the beginning, a preview to what I can really achieve."
The ministry he aligned with in his later years is led by embattled preacher Ralph Gordon Stair, who stands accused by multiple former worshipers of sexual assault.
Stair was arrested in December after state and federal authorities raided the compound. He was freed on bail earlier this year. Stair returned to Overcomer, which he is not permitted to leave under his release conditions.
In a YouTube video from several years ago, Mack is seen jumping up and down in the tabernacle after he denounces “wickedness” and rap, telling Stair he now practices “righteousness.”