Gil Scott-Heron, the poet and musician who was a primary influence for generations of hip-hop artists, died on May 27 at the age of 62. Scott-Heron has been called "the Godfather of Hip Hop music," and is best known for spoken-word songs, including the iconic ''The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,'' which he wrote for his first album at 21. In the words of columnist Nat Hentoff, he was a ''protean phenomenon.''
Details remain thin as to how he died, although Scott-Heron is known to have been HIV positive and struggled with drug abuse for much of his life. In 2000, after years of reports about his drug use, Scott-Heron pleaded guilty to felony possession of cocaine, and agreed to enter a residential treatment program, according to the New York Times. A New Yorker profile of one year ago also recounted in depth Scott-Heron's struggles with crack addiction.
However, there was a resurgence of interest in his work in 2010, when he returned with his first studio album in 16 years, "I’m New Here." The record had come about after an English fan and record producer, Richard Russell, had written to Scott-Heron and then visited him in prison on Rikers Island in 2006, according to the Telegraph.