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TMZ Photo

Rap legend Heavy D — one of the most influential rappers of the ’90s — died earlier today.

Heavy D — real name Dwight Arrington Myers — was rushed to an L.A. hospital around noon today … and was pronounced dead at the hospital at 1 PM. He was 44 years old.

We’ve learned a 911 call was placed from Heavy’s Beverly Hills home around 11:25 AM to report an unconscious male on the walkway .

When help arrived, we’re told Heavy D was conscious and speaking — and was transported to a nearby hospital.

He died a short time later.

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4:28 PM::  Law enforcement tell TMZ … Heavy D had just returned from shopping and walked up some stairs when he began having trouble breathing.  Adam Mills, a designer who was in the building and knew Heavy D, found him leaning against a railing and clearly in distress.  Adam tells us he cradled Heavy D in his lap as others called 911.  Adam says Heavy D was conscious and said to him, “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.”  When paramedics took Heavy D to the hospital he had a pulse.  People in the building are saying he died of a heart attack, but we have not been able to confirm that.  Law enforcement sources tell us … no foul play was involved and so far they only know the cause of death was “medical.”

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Cops are investigating the death — and so far, there are no obvious signs of foul play. Police are currently at the home.

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Heavy D had several massive hits — including “Now That We Found Love.” He also wrote and performed the theme song for “In Living Color” … and appeared as an actor in the movie “Life.”

Heavy just performed at the Michael Jackson Tribute Concert in Wales on October 8. He sang “Jam” with La Toya Jackson — and rocked it (video below).

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Story developing …

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