[See below for an update]

Los Angeles-based emcee and controversial battle rapper, Cadalack Ron, passed away Saturday, January 23, 2016. Initially thought to be another hoax or a false rumor, ex-wife Sunny Hay has confirmed to The Source the rumors are valid.

“Not only is he my ex-husband, but he’s my son’s father,” Hayes said today via Facebook. “I’m sorry to say it’s true. We’ve been divorced for some time, but we have an 8-year-old son named Lion and he has another son Elijah Blue, who is 4. I  am most devastated for him.”

Cadalack Ron, real name Robert Paulson, was battling more than just other rappers. He’d been fighting drug addiction for years. In one of his most infamous battles, he allegedly pulled out a syringe and shot up in the middle of it. Later, it was revealed it was only Gatorade, but it alluded to a sadder story behind the callous joke.

Many friends and fellow emcees took to social media to express their condolences, including King of the Dot Entertainment, one of the biggest rap battle leagues in the world.

“To his fans, he was an amazingly talented battler and musician. One who didn’t run from controversy, but took it head on. In this he was one of the most interesting and enigmatic figures in the battle rap culture. In his music, he gave fans a glimpse into the life of who Robert Paulson was as a man. His struggles, his triumphs, his life was put out for the world to see. He truly was someone who put all of himself into his art, he earned incalculable respect from his fans for that, and helped many who identified with his struggles.”

In a Facebook post, Ceschi Ramos, founder of Fake Four, Inc., wrote: 

“Sad news about Cadalack Ron’s passing. We didn’t see each other often, but I enjoyed talking to him at shows or online occasionally. I really think he was an underrated artist and writer. My last messages with him I told him that I respected him and people cared about him, and he should take care of himself and seek help. People glorified his addiction and made a mockery of it. I didn’t want to be one of those people. It’s a tough road. I’m sorry he lost that battle. Rest in Peace Caddy.”

While Hay didn’t want to publicly reveal the cause of death, many people are speculating it was indeed a heroin overdose. Even more upsetting is he had reportedly been trying to get and stay clean in recent years. Countless Facebook posts he made talked about meetings and his desire to stay on the road to recovery. It’s another sad ending to yet another talented artists’ story who’s life was taken way too soon.

According to drugabuse.gov, heroin overdose deaths have increased exponentially from 2001 to 2014. There has been at least a 6-fold increase in the total number of deaths over the past 15 years. It’s time people stop glamorizing substance abuse. It doesn’t make you “cool,” it doesn’t make you “fit in” and it definitely doesn’t do anything for spiritual, emotional or mental growth. The Source sends our condolences to the Paulson family and the many, many people that are feeling the pain of his passing.

In an interview with BattleRap.com, Ron addresses four months of sobriety and the controversial battle rap involving the syringe. May his spirit rest in peace.

[Update at 11:57 a.m., Sunday, Jan. 24: Nick Carletti, better known as Lush One, battle rap icon and host of a string of King of the Dot battles, chimed in on the sudden passing of his good friend Cadalack Ron. While he wouldn’t directly confirm the overdose suspicion, he dropped a pretty heavy hint that it’s the cause of death.

“He already foreshadowed his passing a million times over through his art and his poignant understanding of the other various realms of reality/dimensions,” Carletti writes in an email statement. “I miss his human form; he’s still with me more than ever. His friendship was unconditional loyalty from the moment we met. From a music and street level to a level of true brotherhood, we were kindred spirits. He literally embodied art and realness in everything he did. He and his high level artistry is very misunderstood and often taken out of context. It will be years before the full extent of his talent and genius will be recognized.”]

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