Rapper 'Big Pokey' dies after collapsing at Texas bar, officials say

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Sunday, June 18, 2023
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HOUSTON, Texas -- The Houston, Texas rap community is mourning Sunday after officials announced the death of rap legend "Big Pokey."

Our sister station, ABC13 Eyewitness News, confirmed with Justice of The Peace Tom Gillam III that "Big Pokey," also known as Milton Powell, died in Beaumont, Texas.

The Sensei rapper reportedly collapsed at a bar in Beaumont after the show Saturday, but it is unclear what caused his death on Sunday.

According to social media posts by Pour09 Bar & Rooftop, the rapper was scheduled to perform at the venue Saturday as the special guest during a Juneteenth celebration.

Before Beaumont, Powell has performed at Bicentennial Park in Baytown Saturday night.

Fellow Houston rapper Bun B posted on Instagram, making the first announcement about the death with a mournful caption saying, "I wasn't ready for this. One of the most naturally talented artists in the city. Low key, humble mountain of a man who moved with honor and respect. He was easy to love and hard to hate. He'd pull up, do what he had to do and head home. One of the pillars of our city. If heart of gold was a person. Iconic member of the SUC. There will never be another and will be missed dearly. We love and honor you Sensei. Rest in heaven."

Another Houston rap legend, Slim Thug, said on social media that it's a "sad day in the city" and said he is sending "prayers to his family."

"In the coming days, we will release information about his celebration of life and how the public can pay their respects. We ask that you respect his family and their privacy during this difficult time. Big Pokey will forever be 'The Hardest Pit In The Litter!'" Powell's team said in a statement to ABC13.

"Though many called him "low key," his presence was larger than life in helping to catapult our hip hop scene nationally." Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a tweet.