Lee O’Denat, the founder and CEO of music and urban culture website WorldStarHipHop, died Monday night. He was 43 years old.
The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office said that O’Denat, who lived in Del Mar, was at a local business when he became unresponsive. After a call to 911, paramedics arrived and performed CPR, but he could not be revived. He was declared dead at 5:34 p.m., and the cause was listed as atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, with obesity as a contributing condition.
WorldStar HipHop said in a statement on Twitter: “Q was a brilliant businessman who championed urban culture, ultimately creating the largest hip-hop website in the world. We ask that you remember Q in your prayers and raise a toast to the sky in his name.”
We ask that you remember Q in your prayers and raise a toast to the sky in his name. RIP ???? pic.twitter.com/ixsULQil32
— WORLDSTARHIPHOP (@WORLDSTAR) January 24, 2017
O’Denat founded WorldStarHipHop in 2005. It started off as a site for artists to release their mixtapes, but quickly became popular for posting user-submitted videos of public fights. Now, the website has grown to become a go-to place for pop culture news.
In a 2014 interview for “The Champs” podcast with comedians Moshe Kasher and Neal Brennan, Q said he created WorldStar because he wanted something different.
“2005, I just wanted something to be different for urban media, so I figured, let’s have a site that’s going to cater to mixtapes, editorial news, catering to music. And it just kept growing in that sense,” said O’Denat.
Q added that he never went to school to learn how to code websites. He just fell in love with the internet.
“It was no one really f—ing with the internet at that time, and I just said, it’s the future and kept reading up on it,” said the CEO.
Since then, the website has grown so much that it has even coined the catchphrase “WorldStar” — people will sometimes call it out whenever a fight starts, or anyone breaks out their phone to record something shocking.