Feb 4, 2008

Pimp C's died from a overdose of cough syrup and sleep condition

An overdose of cough syrup and a preexisting sleep apnea condition killed Chad Butler, better known as rapper Pimp C, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner. His death has been ruled an accident.

Butler was found dead in a Los Angeles hotel on Dec. 4. He was 33. He'd been in L.A. for a concert with rapper Too $hort.

Though early reports suggested the cough syrup was over-the-counter, assistant chief coroner Ed Winter said the Promethazine/Codeine found in his system was from a prescription-based product.

Winter also cited sleep apnea, a disorder that often causes blockage of the airway during sleep. According to the National Institutes of Health, the condition affects more than 12 million Americans. Winter suggested that Pimp C's family was aware he suffered from the condition.

Pimp C's death came during a commercial peak for his duo UGK, a Port Arthur-based group that was a pioneering hip-hop force in Houston. He and rapper Bun B (Bernard Freeman) released a two-CD opus Underground Kingz in August, which became its first chart-topping album.

Two days after Pimp C's death UGK received its first Grammy nomination.

An October Chronicle report stated that drug experts have yet to determine definitive negative health effects of cough syrup abuse. But the city's innovative and revered DJ Screw, who was notorious for ingesting codeine-based cough syrup, died of a heart attack in 2000 at age 29. Last year another local rapper, Big Moe, died of a heart attack at 33.

But Winter suggested a more direct correlation between the syrup and Pimp C's death.


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