Trugoy the Dove, Founding Member of Legendary Rap Group De La Soul, Dies at 54

The Long Island rapper has previously shared details about his battle with congestive heart failure

Trugoy the Dove of De La Soul performs at Current TV "Take Back TV" launch celebration
Scott Gries/Getty Images

Trugoy the Dove, a founding member of the legendary rap group De La Soul, has died. He was 54.

Details are still scarce on the cause of death, which was first announced as an AllHipHop exclusive. But Trugoy, whose birth name is Dave Jolicoeur, had previously been open about his battle with congestive heart failure and has had hiccuping health scares and hospitalizations over the last several years.

Per the AP, Trugoy’s representative Tony Ferguson confirmed the reports Sunday, but “no other information was immediately available.”

Among those Trugoy and De La Soul influenced are Mos Def, Jurassic 5, Tyler, the Creator, and Pharrell. Many in the hip-hop community shared their condolences on social media Sunday.

Canadian DJ and producer A-Trak wrote on Twitter that he was left “shattered” by the news. “Hard to express how much De La means to me,” he wrote. “The artistry, the creativity, the humor, the wisdom, and just the overall dopeness. Buhloone Mindstate shaped me. All the albums, but that one in particular.”

Rapper and producer Erick Sermon expressed his sadness – “This one hurts.” – and deemed De La Soul as one of “best rap groups in Hiphop” on his Instagram.

Producer Young Guru wrote that he loved Trugoy and that his death is “crazy.”

Born David Jude Jolicoeur, Trugoy partnered with high school friends and rappers Posdnuos and Maseo in 1988 to form the pioneering rap group De La Soul out of Amityville, Long Island. They released their debut album “3 Feet High and Rising” in 1989 with the help of producer Prince Paul. The group has been nominated for six Grammy Awards in the years that followed, winning in 2006 for their collaboration with Gorrilaz, “Feel Good Inc.”

The pioneering rap group was featured at the 2023 Grammy Awards on Feb. 5 as part of a show-stopping hip-hop tribute that also saw the likes of LL Cool J, Queen Latifah, Salt-N-Pepa and many more. Trugoy, who went by Dave in his later years, was not present for that performance.

In a 2018 Instagram video, Trugoy shared his frustrations with being unable to perform due to his health.

“I’m ready just to get back to the stage,” he said. “I miss that. I love traveling. I love being around my guys and I want that back.”