sickle cell disease is still a silent killer for black people

June 22, 2017

Yesterday, Kathy Iandoli, the co-author of one of rapper Prodigy’s books announced that the legendary musician and one half of the hip hop duo Mobb Deep died at 42. A cause of death has not yet been released, but the artist had been hospitalized for complications caused by sickle cell anemia prior to his death, Iandoli told CNN.

People with sickle cell disease have abnormal red blood cells that have a difficulty moving through blood vessels, thus reducing the capacity for carrying oxygen around the body. According to the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute, most people with sickle cell disease are of African ancestry. About 1 in 13 Black babies in the U.S. is born with sickle cell trait, and about 1 in every 365 Black children is born with sickle cell disease.

Living through the disease can be an extremely painful experience, and can cause life-threatening infections and other complications, including stroke and loss of vision. Blood transfusions can help prevent and relieve these symptoms, which is a large part of the reason that health officials in the UK recently launched an urgent plea for more Black people to give blood.

Prodigy had been in Las Vegas for a Mobb Deep performance. Famous fans of the icon expressed their condolences, noting how much the rapper had influenced their work.

You can learn more about donating blood here.

Banner photo via Mark Lennihan/AP



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