Kottonmouth Kings rapper found dead week shy of 45th birthday

One of the founding members of the popular Southern California rap group Kottonmouth Kings has died a week shy of his 45th birthday. Steven “Saint Dog” Thronson was found dead Wednesday morning at the house of a friend in Victorville, just outside Los Angeles, according to the entertainment news outlet TMZ.

Credit: Social media photo via Facebook

Credit: Social media photo via Facebook

One of the founding members of the popular Southern California rap group Kottonmouth Kings has died a week shy of his 45th birthday.

Steven “Saint Dog” Thronson was found dead Wednesday morning at the house of a friend in Victorville, just outside Los Angeles, according to the entertainment news outlet TMZ.

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No cause of death was given, although reports said Thronson’s friend called 911 after finding him “struggling to breathe” in one of the home’s bedrooms. Authorities arrived and found Thronson unresponsive, pronouncing him dead at the scene.

There were no signs of foul play, TMZ reported.

Officials are awaiting the results of an autopsy and toxicology exam.

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The Kottonmouth Kings formed in 1996 and two years later released their first EP. Thronson left the collective in 2000, after the fourth album, to embark on a solo career, but he was still known to collaborate with his former bandmates Dustin “D-Loc” Miller and Johnny Richter, reports said.

Thronson, who was born Oct. 21, 1975, dropped his last solo album, “Bozo,” in August 2019. A year earlier, he rejoined Kottonmouth Kings after 18 years to appear on “Kingdom Come,” which was the group’s final release.

“We will miss you and your big heart,” bandmates wrote in a Facebook post, according to Billboard. “You were one of a kind and our hearts our broken. But we promise to keep your legacy alive through your music. Everyone please take some time and say a few words or tell a story about our fallen brother below. He touched so many and we will keep his legacy thriving.”

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Like their name suggests, the Kottonmouth Kings were known for lyrics that promoted smoking and legalizing marijuana.

Early album titles by the Orange County trio included “Stoners Reeking Havoc,” “Royal Highness,” “Stash Box” and “Hidden Stash.”

Several hits emerged from those efforts, including “Suburban Life,” “Bump,” “Dog’s Life” and “Play On,” according to reports.

Altogether, the group produced 14 studio albums.

“Anyone that knew Steve saw what a big heart he had,” Kevin Zinger, an executive with Suburban Noize Records, told TMZ. “Some of my fondest memories was watching Steve stop the music in the middle of a Kottonmouth Kings show to bring a handicapped fan in a wheelchair on stage so that he could have a better view of the show and even join in singing a few songs. That was just the kind of person Steve was and he touched so many people in a positive way.”

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Miller also posted another tribute to the late rapper on Instagram.

“Your memories will never fade to black and Your voice will always be with us. A true legend on the mic when he bust. My teacher when it came to this rapping.. He wrote the first songs. Bump and so high and I packed the bong. We took a trip to Hollywood and got a record deal. Beatboxing in the club flexing mad skills. Broke as a joke scraping resin no green. Big plans big dream’s just kids we started Kottonmouth King’s. Rest in peace and pay respect to the original the king of all kings. SAINT DOG.”

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