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'Rob & Big' Star Big Black Dead at 45

5/9/2017 4:47 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE


Christopher 'Big Black' Boykin, who was the other half of Rob Dyrdek's hit MTV show "Rob & Big" -- has died ... TMZ has learned.

His rep tells us Chris died Tuesday morning. No official cause of death yet, but multiple people connected to Chris tell us they believe it was a heart attack.

He was Rob's best friend and bodyguard on their reality show, which ran from 2006 to 2008 -- and also later appeared on 'Fantasy Factory.' 

The pals got into a bunch of random adventures -- like breaking Guinness World Records, exorcising their house, installing an ATM ... and, of course, catching people with their net gun.

Chris and Rob's relationship became strained while shooting their show. Rob talked about their falling out a couple of years ago.

They eventually patched things up. Not only did they work together on 'Fantasy Factory' ... but Chris recently posted a throwback pic of them from the show's heyday.

Before he was a TV star, Boykin served in the U.S. Navy. He's survived by his 9-year-old daughter.

'Big Black' was 45.

#RIP

NBA's Raymond Felton Explains Why Athletes Play After Loved Ones Die

5/9/2017 3:38 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

It's hard for some people to understand how pro athletes like Isaiah Thomas compete after the death of a loved one ... but L.A. Clippers player Raymond Felton summed it up pretty perfectly. 

Felton lost his grandmother earlier this year and tells TMZ Sports he can completely relate to Thomas -- whose sister died in a tragic car crash last month. 

"I understand the grief. I understand what he's feeling, what he's going through."

So, why is it so important for athletes like Raymond to get back on the court?? Love. 

Aaron Hernandez Lawyers Talking to NFL Agents About Contract Situation

5/9/2017 10:09 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Aaron Hernandez's attorney, Jose Baez, says his legal team is in talks with the NFL player's former agents to see how the abatement of his murder conviction will affect his contract with the Patriots. 

There are theories that with the murder conviction erased, the New England Patriots will be on the hook to pay out the remainder of his contract to Aaron's estate ... a number reportedly around $6 million. 

Baez says Aaron's family and legal team are still grieving over Aaron's death and while they're exploring their options, they're not rushing to action. 

As for prosecutors suggesting that Hernandez planned to kill himself in a plot to exploit the abatement doctrine to force the Patriots to pay out his family ... Baez says it's a long shot theory and "I don't give it any shred of credibility at this point."

Prince Producer I Never Promised to Keep Quiet About Unreleased Tracks

5/8/2017 3:27 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

A handful of Prince's unreleased recordings are totally fair game as far the producer is concerned, because he says he never signed a contract to keep the music under wraps.

George Ian Boxill, the former sound engineer who briefly released the "Deliverance" EP last month -- before Prince's estate blocked it -- filed new legal docs saying his deal with Prince was strictly for remodeling his studio.

Boxill says he helped overhaul Prince's studio in 2004 and did indeed sign a nondisclosure agreement. He insists that document ONLY applied to that job. Later, Boxill served as sound engineer when Prince recorded the 5 tracks on "Deliverance."

According to the docs, Boxill never signed a nondisclosure for the recording sessions.

He's asking the judge to throw out the estate's lawsuit which is blocking him from releasing the music to the public.

Team USA Bobsledder Steven Holcomb Dead at 37

5/6/2017 3:43 PM PDT
Breaking News

5:00 PM PT -- NY State Troopers tell us Holcomb was unresponsive when first responders arrived at his room. They also say there was no sign of foul play.Bobsledder Steve Holcomb, who brought home gold for Team USA, was found dead Saturday in Lake Placid, NY.

Holcomb's body was found in his room at the Olympic Training Center ... according to the U.S.O.C. He was only 37, but the committee has not provided a cause of death.

Holcomb piloted USA's 4-man team to a gold medal at the Vancouver games in 2010. He also earned 2 bronze medals at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.

He was extremely competitive this season in bobsled and skeleton. Holcomb was a 5-time World Champion.

Demi Moore Sued in Drowning Death

5/5/2017 9:10 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Demi Moore has been sued -- belatedly -- over a death in the actress' pool 2 years ago.

TMZ broke the story ... Demi was out of town when her caretaker threw a party for a small group. Most of them left to go out at some point in the evening, and when they returned they found a 21-year-old male who stayed behind facedown in the pool.

Law enforcement told us the victim had told the group he couldn't swim and apparently tripped over something while everyone was gone and fell in the pool.

There was alcohol at the party, and that's a factor in the lawsuit.

The man's parents had sued the trust that owned the house, but Demi had not been named. She's just been joined as a defendant.

As for why Demi's sued, the parents say there were no depth markers or any safety signage in the 10-foot-deep pool. The parents also claim there were rocks around the pool which created a trip hazard. And, the parents say, the temp in the pool was 101 degrees, and they say that compromises brain function.

Ferguson Protester Man Who Hurled Tear Gas Canister in Iconic Photo Dead at 27

5/5/2017 6:41 AM PDT

Edward Crawford, Jr., the man whose image became the defining moment in the Ferguson protests, is dead.

Crawford was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and police are trying to determine if it was accidental or suicide.

Crawford's dad told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "I don't believe it was a suicide," adding cops are being "hush-hush" about the investigation.

The photo symbolized the tensions between police and protester in the wake of Michael Brown's death. Cops hurled a tear gas canister at protesters ... Crawford picked it up and hurled it back.

Crawford was 27 and the father of 4 children.

RIP 

Sunset Strip Rock Legend Mario Maglieri Dies at 94 Rocked with The Doors, Van Halen, Crüe

5/4/2017 4:19 PM PDT
Exclusive Details

Mario Maglieri -- former owner of Sunset Strip rock meccas The Whisky a Go Go, The Roxy Theatre and The Rainbow Bar & Grill -- died Thursday in Los Angeles.

Family friends tell us Mario died of natural causes at Cedars-Sinai Hospital. He'd been there for a few weeks because he wasn't feeling well after breaking his hip last month.

His family, including his wife of 72 years, Scarlett, was at his bedside.

Crowds at Maglieri's venues witnessed legendary performances over several decades. The Doors, Guns N' Roses, Van Halen, Led Zeppelin, Mötley Crüe, Cream and tons of others played those Sunset Strip clubs starting in the '60s.

Mario is often referred to as the King or Godfather of the Sunset Strip. He was 94.

#RIP #longliverock

Aaron Hernandez Wrote 'John 3:16' In Blood on Cell Wall ... Police Report Says

5/4/2017 2:38 PM PDT
Breaking News

Aaron Hernandez wrote "John 3:16" in blood on the walls of his cell -- and also in ink on his forehead -- before he hanged himself in his Massachusetts prison cell ... this according to the police report. 

TMZ Sports has obtained the official report which says officials at Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center found Hernandez in cell #57 around 3 AM on April 19. 

In addition to "John 3:16" written on the walls in blood -- officials say there were also several drawings in blood ... though the report does not specify what the drawings were of. 

Officials say under the drawings was a Bible opened to the passage "John 3:16" with the 16th verse marked in blood. 

"John 3:16" is essentially the centerpiece of Christianity -- "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

The door had been jammed with cardboard -- apparently to prevent people from entering the cell to save him.

When officials broke through, the floor was covered in shampoo to make it slippery -- apparently to prevent Hernandez from gaining his footing in case he wanted to stop himself from hanging. 

He had also covered the window to his cell with a sheet which is what alerted officers in the first place. 

The report says Hernandez had a fresh cut on his right middle finger and there appeared to be large circular blood marks on each of his feet. 

The report also confirms the presence of 3 handwritten notes in the cell -- though the contents of the notes have been redacted.

Investigators -- including a handwriting expert -- analyzed the notes and determined they were written by Hernandez.

Officials say surveillance footage shows Hernandez talking on the phone "just prior to his cell door being locked" for the last time. Officials went back and listened to the call and determined there was no apparent indication of an intent to harm himself.

Carrie Fisher Force Grows Stronger ... On 'May the Fourth' Day

5/4/2017 10:13 AM PDT

Carrie Fisher's gravesite is calm and peaceful on Star Wars Day ... but her force is starting to draw fans who want to honor the galaxy's Princess.

Princess Leia's headstone -- shared with her mom, Debbie Reynolds -- was already adorned with flowers, cards and a 'Star Wars' gift bag early Thursday morning. Many more are expected to arrive throughout May the Fourth.

No lightsaber fights breaking out yet, but it's early.

Carrie and Debbie's shared huge headstone was placed over their graves earlier this week at Hollywood's Forest Lawn Cemetery.

Yes, the Fourth is strong with this one. And also with this musical tribute to Leia ...

Todd Heap Honoring Late Daughter With 'Hugs From Holly Day'

5/2/2017 8:54 AM PDT
Breaking News

Less than 1 month after Todd Heap's daughter was killed in an accident at their home, the ex-NFL star is calling on his fans to help honor her memory ... by celebrating "Hugs from Holly Day."

As we previously reported, Heap's 3-year-old daughter, Holly, was struck by Todd's truck in what law enforcement determined was an unfortunate accident. 

Holly would have turned 4 years old on Wednesday -- and now the former Baltimore Ravens tight end and his family are hoping to keep her memory alive through random acts of kindness. 

The family is promoting "Hugs from Holly Day" -- hoping to raise money for the Baltimore Community Foundation

The Heaps are asking people to wear pink, spread love and joy through random acts of kindness and post photos using the hashtag #HugsFromHollyDay. 

The family says, "Holly was known to give the best hugs, and her love for everyone and everything in life was contagious. Let’s spread this joy as we scatter sunshine in Holly’s honor on her birthday."

Col. Bruce Hampton Collapses Onstage Dead at 70

5/2/2017 6:18 AM PDT

A super popular musician in Atlanta collapsed onstage Monday as the crowd celebrated his 70th birthday.

Col. Bruce Hampton -- known as the Granddaddy of the Jam Scene -- was in the middle of an encore -- "Turn on Your Lovelight" -- when he suddenly collapsed onstage.

The band kept playing, as if nothing happened ... people thought it was all part of the performance.

Sadly, it wasn't. When people realized it was for real, Hampton was rushed to a hospital where he died. 

RIP.

Nick Cannon Childhood Friend Killed In San Diego Mass Shooting

5/2/2017 7:18 AM PDT

Nick Cannon says the woman who was killed in the San Diego area mass shooting over the weekend was a dear friend.

Monique Clark was the only fatality in the shooting Sunday in La Jolla ... where 7 other people were injured. Nick posted a childhood photo of himself, Monique and another friend. He said she was "Such a beautiful spirit with an infectious smile. I have nothing but wonderful memories of this Angel."

Monique was murdered by Peter Selis when he randomly opened fire on a birthday party at an apartment pool. Police say he was distraught over a recent breakup, and even phoned his ex-girlfriend while he opened fire. Officers eventually shot and killed him.

Nick, who was born and raised in the San Diego area, said ... "Tears can't express the pain and shock. A mother of 3, a sister, a daughter, a cousin, a friend and a Queen... Rest in Paradise."

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