Drug overdose suspected in death of Chris Kelly of 1990s Kris Kross rap duo

Story highlights

  • Autopsy shows no signs of trauma or foul play
  • Woman told police Kelly had taken heroin and cocaine Tuesday night
  • He died Wednesday at an Atlanta hospital
  • Kris Kross topped the charts with "Jump" in 1992

Atlanta-area authorities are investigating the death of Chris Kelly, half of the 1990s rap duo Kris Kross, as a possible drug overdose, Fulton County Police Cpl. Kay Lester said Thursday.

Kelly, 34, died Wednesday at an Atlanta hospital after he was found unresponsive at his home, police said.

After paramedics took him to the hospital, a woman who identified herself as Kelly's friend told an investigator that Kelly had taken a mixture of heroin and cocaine Tuesday night, and that she had brought Kelly home "to recover from his drug use," according to a police report.

Betty Honey, with the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office, said that an autopsy showed no signs of trauma or foul play.

A toxicology report is expected to be complete in three to four weeks, at which point, a cause of death will likely be determined, she said.

Kelly, together with Chris Smith, shot to stardom in 1992 with "Jump," which spent eight weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100.

A #TBT in honor of Chris Kelly

    The duo opened for Michael Jackson that year on his Dangerous World Tour.

    Their penchant for wearing their clothes backward was, at least for a time, widely emulated.

    "I'm wearing my clothes to work backwards tomorrow," Michael Skolnik, edito-in-chief of the hip hop site Global Grind said, when he learned of the death.

    Leslie Tookes, a CNN project coordinator, lived next door to Kelly. Like others, she was saddened by his untimely death.

    "We often heard him playing classical music and the piano," Tookes said. "He was a low-key type of person who was very talented and courteous, friendly and wonderful to our 5-year-old twins.

    "Indeed, gone too soon."

    His family also mentioned the notable wardrobe adjustment in a statement mourning Kelly's passing.

    "To millions of fans worldwide, he was the trendsetting, backwards pants-wearing one-half of Kris Kross who loved making music. But to us, he was just Chris -- the kind, generous and fun-loving life of the party," Kelly's family said in a statement.

    People we lost in 2013: The lives they lived

    Discovered at a mall

    Kelly and Smith were 13-year-olds when they were discovered in 1991 at an Atlanta mall by producer Jermaine Dupri.

    Going by the stage name Mac Daddy (with Smith known as Daddy Mac), the pair followed up their smash "Jump" with the single "Warm It Up."

    Together, the songs pushed their debut album, "Totally Krossed Out," to multiplatinum status.

    Next came 1993's "Da Bomb."

    But the album failed to find the following of the duo's debut, in large part because the boys had hit puberty and they were marketed with a tougher image.

    Their career never again reached the heights of their debut, but they continued to make music.

    In 1996, the duo released the album "Young, Rich and Dangerous."

    The pair reunited for one night in February for a 20th anniversary party for Dupri's So So Def label.

    Rapper Da Brat, who also performed that night, wrote about Kelly's death, "REST IN PEACE TO MY LIL BRO CHRIS KELLY OF KRIS KROSS. Dam wasn't we JUST at rehearsal and doin a So So Def20 show?"

    Share your memories

        People we lost in 2013

      • James Avery during 2005 BET Awards - Red Carpet at Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by L. Cohen/WireImage)

        Actor James Avery, who played the beloved Uncle Phil on the hit 1990s sitcom "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," has died. He was 67.
      • John Cordice

        Dr. John W.V. Cordice, the surgeon who operated on Dr. Martin Luther King after he was stabbed in Harlem in 1958, died in Iowa. Cordice was 95.
      • Joseph Ruskin, who acted in 25 films and 124 television shows, died of natural causes in a Santa Monica, California, hospital Saturday, December 28, according to  SAG-AFTRA. Ruskin was 89.

        Joseph Ruskin died of natural causes in a Santa Monica, California, hospital. He was 89.
      • Jeff Pollack

        Jeffrey Ian Pollack, who directed the popular 1990s films "Booty Call" and "Above the Rim" and produced "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" has died. He was 54.
      • FILE - In this July 26, 2002 file photo, Russian weapon designer Mikhail Kalashnikov presents his legendary assault rifle to the media while opening the exhibition "Kalashnikov - legend and curse of a weapon" at a weapons museum in Suhl, Germany. Mikhail Kalashnikov, whose work as a weapons designer for the Soviet Union is immortalized in the name of the world's most popular firearm, has died at the age of 94, Monday Dec. 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer, File)

        Mikhail Kalashnikov, the Russian gun designer whose AK-47 rifle became the weapon of choice for many national armies and guerrillas around the world, died.
      • Ned Vizzini, who shot to fame at a young age for his teenage novels focusing on youth depression and anxieties, committed suicide at age 32.
      • single use image -- do not reuse

        Actor Daniel Escobar, who played a teacher in "Lizzie McGuire," died from complications of diabetes in Los Angeles. He was 49.
      • Ronnie Biggs poses for a photo

        "Great Train Robber" Ronnie Biggs -- one of the most notorious British criminals of the 20th century -- has died, his publisher told CNN. He was 84.
      •  UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1970: Photo of Ray Price Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

        Ray Price, the Nashville star whose trademark "shuffle" beat became a country music staple, has died at age 87, his agent said.
      • HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 30: Peter O'Toole poses as his hand and footprints are enshrined in concrete at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre on April 30, 2011 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/PictureGroup)

        Actor Peter O'Toole died peacefully in a hospital at 81 years old.
      • Jim Hall performs during the Newport Jazz Festival 2013 at Fort Adams State Park on August 4, 2013.

        Jazz guitarist Jim Hall, who played with the jazz greats of the 20th century and influenced the younger ones, has died, his family said. He was 83.
      • (FILE PHOTO) Former South African President Nelson Mandela Has Died LONDON - JUNE 26: Nelson Mandela leaves the InterContinental Hotel after a photoshoot with celebrity photographer Terry O'Neil on June 26, 2008 in London, England. Mandela is in London in advance of the 46664 concert being held at Hyde Park on Friday the 27th June to celebrate Nelson Mandela's 90th Birthday. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

        Freedom fighter, statesman, moral compass and South Africa's symbol of the struggle against racial oppression.
      • Actor Paul Walker, who shot to fame as star of the high-octane street racing franchise "Fast & Furious," died in a car crash in Southern California. He was 40.
      • sot jane kean honymooners larry king live archive 2003_00002127.jpg

        Jane Kean, who played diverse roles during a long career but was best known as Trixie on the TV revival of "The Honeymooners," has died. She was 90.