Saint Dog, Kottonmouth Kings Rapper, Dead at 44

Saint Dog, a founding member of the Southern California hip-hop group Kottonmouth Kings, has died. Born Steven Michael Thronson, the rapper died Tuesday, according to a statement from his management. He was 44. No cause of death was given.

Thronson's death was confirmed by his management in a post shared on his Instagram account Wednesday morning. Writing, "Rest In Peace, Rest In Power to a true underground legend," the musician's team confirmed that Thronson "passed away yesterday in Southern California." His management remembered him as "a unique individual that had a profound impact on anyone he came in contact with" and said that "while Saint is no longer with us, his music will live on forever. Rest easy, King."

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According to a coroner's release from the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department, Thronson was found unresponsive in a friend's residence in Victorville, California at around midnight Wednesday. Emergency responders pronounced him dead at 12:10 a.m. TMZ had been the first to report on Thronson's death. Citing law enforcement sources, the outlet reported that Thronson had been discovered by a friend, who called 911, "struggling to breathe." There were reportedly no signs of foul play at the scene. An autopsy is set to be performed to determine the cause of death, and the San Bernardino Sheriff Department is investigating.

In a statement to TMZ, Suburban Noize Records exec Kevin Zinger said that "anyone that knew Steve saw what a big heart he had," adding that "some of my fondest memories was watching Steve stop the music in the middle of a Kottonmouth Kings show to bring a handicapped fan in a wheelchair on stage so that he could have a better view of the show and even join in singing a few songs." Singer said that Thronson "touched so many people in a positive way" and said that his "legacy will live on in his music and our hearts go out to his Son Max and his entire family, friends and fans worldwide."

Thronson had been a founding member of Kottonmouth Kings alongside D-Loc, Daddy X, Lou Dog, and DJ Bobby B. The group formed in 1996, releasing three projects – Stoners Reeking Havoc, Royal Highness, and Hidden Stash – before Thronson left the group to pursue a solo career. His debut solo album, Ghetto Guide, was released in 2004. Thronson eventually reunited with Kottonmouth Kings to appear as a featured artist on their 2015 record, Krown Power, before officially rejoining the group in 2018 to release Kingdom Come. His third and final solo album, Bozo, was released in 2019.