Jam Master Jay, part of the pioneering rap trio Run-DMC, was shot and killed tonight at a recording studio in Queens, the group's publicist said.
Publicist Tracy Miller confirmed the death of the 37-year-old DJ, whose real name was Jason Mizell.
He was shot once in the head and was dead at the scene, said Detective Robert Price, a police spokesman. He said the shooter remained at large and police had no information on a motive.
A second man, identified by police as 25-year-old Urieco Rincon, was shot in the leg and was taken to Mary Immaculate Hospital. The hospital did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
The shooting happened on Merrick Boulevard in the Jamaica section of Queens. Run-DMC fans quickly gathered at the scene, some hugging each other and crying.
The group, which also included rappers Joe "Run" Simmons and Darryl "DMC" McDaniels, is widely credited with helping to bring rap into music's mainstream, through songs including the group's smash collaboration with Aerosmith on the 1980s standard "Walk This Way." Mizell served as the group's DJ, providing background for the two singers.
Mizell and McDaniels had planned to perform in Washington on Thursday at a Wizards basketball game. Mizell had performed on Tuesday in Alabama, Miller said.
"We always knew rap was for everyone," Mizell said in a 2001 interview with MTV. "Anyone could rap over all kinds of music."
"It wasn't the soulful R&B of the '70s and '80s," he said of the group's early work. "So we didn't want to be like the soft R&B. We wanted to go hard-core, so we put the rock-and-roll on our rap."
The trio released a greatest-hits album earlier this year.
Mizell was married and had three children, his publicist said.
"He was a great producer, a hard worker," Miller said told the Associated Press. "He's a family man."
Dozens of fans gathered on the outskirts of the crime scene in Queens, where the members of Run-DMC grew up.
"They're the best. They're the pioneers in hip-hop," said Arlene Clark, 39.
Another fan who lives nearby, Leslie Bell, 33, said the members of Run-DMC often let local musicians record for free at their studio.
"That was their decision, to stay here and give back to the community," Bell said. "He is one great man," he said of Mizell. "The good always die young. He's the good guy."
Associated Press writers Amy Westfeldt and Nekesa Mumbi Moody contributed to this report.