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Late Rapper ODB Had Drugs in System

Thursday, December 16, 2004; Page C03

NEW YORK, Dec. 15 -- Rapper Ol' Dirty Bastard, who died in a recording studio last month at 35, had taken cocaine and a prescription pain relief drug before his collapse, the medical examiner's office said Wednesday.

"His death has been ruled an accident," Ellen Borakove, spokeswoman for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, said after the toxicology tests showed the presence of cocaine and Tramadol, a non-narcotic pain reliever.

Ol' Dirty Bastard died while recording in a N.Y. studio Nov. 13. (Frank Franklin Ii -- AP)

ODB's criminal lifestyle and strange behavior overshadowed his work as one of the founding members of the Wu-Tang Clan. He died after complaining of chest pains while recording in a Manhattan studio Nov. 13, two days before he would have turned 36.

He was released from a New York state prison in early 2003 after serving time for drug offenses and probation violation, and subsequently received treatment at a mental hospital.

Speaking at his funeral last month, childhood friend Robert Diggs, aka RZA, who co-founded the rap collective Wu-Tang Clan, said ODB had lived up to his name in the end.

"When we can't be satisfied with ourselves we turn to other things to make us happy -- alcohol, drugs and sex," RZA said.

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