When police arrived, they found him conscious but still having difficulty breathing. He was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center around noon, where he was pronounced dead.
At 6 feet 3, Heavy D once weighed more than 300 pounds, but in 2005 he shed 160 pounds for the lead role in the Hollywood stage production Medal of Honor Rag, produced by Will Smith.
"I wanted the doors to open up for myself," Heavy told Jet magazine at the time. "I said I can continue to be this person and have this OK career, or I can lose the weight and be able to fit into many more roles and have more audition opportunities."
At his October appearance on BET, he seemed to have gained back the weight.
A law enforcement source told TMZ he weighed 344 pounds at the time of his death.
Born Dwight Arrington Myers in Jamaica, Heavy D was the youngest of six children. His mother Eulahlee, a nurse, and father, Clifford, a film technician, moved the family to Mount Vernon, N.Y., when he was young.
Hill said, "He inspired me about how he chose to live his life, how he chose family and raising his offspring and how important that was."