Hip Hop pioneer DJ Kay Slay has died after an extended battle with COVID-19. 

His family confirmed his death through a statement released by New York hip-hop radio station HOT 97. He was 55. 

The Harlem native, whose real name was Keith Grayson, started his career as a graffiti artist. 

He later became a DJ and then a record executive. 

DJ Kay Slay worked at Hot 97 for more than 20 years.  The radio station released a statement saying the staff was shocked calling him a "vital part" in making the radio station a success. 

"We cherish the many memories created through the 20-plus years he dedicated to the 'Drama Hour.' A cultural icon, Kay Slay was more than just a DJ, to us he was family." 

His family confirmed that he passed away on Sunday after a four-month battle with COVID-19. 

DJ Kay Slay had released four studio albums, starting with 2003's "The Streetweeper, Vol. 1." 

DJ Kay Slay’ rose through the ranks by refereeing the biggest MC battles on his Streetsweeper mixtapes.   

Known as the Drama King, Kay Slay grew up in Harlem making a name for himself as a DJ.