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Kris Kross rapper Chris Kelly's death a likely overdose

ATLANTA (Reuters) - Chris "Mac Daddy" Kelly of the 1990s rap duo Kris Kross likely died of a drug overdose, police said on Thursday, a day after the 34-year-old was found unconscious at his Atlanta home.

Kelly gained fame as a young teen in 1992 with the hit song "Jump" and for the duo's fashion trademark of wearing their clothes backward.

"Based on the information at the scene, we are concluding that it was a drug overdose," said Corporal Kay Lester, spokeswoman for the Fulton County Police Department.

Kelly was found unconscious at his home on Wednesday and pronounced dead about three hours later in an Atlanta hospital, Lester said.

A friend told police that Kelly had been taking a mixture of heroin and cocaine on Tuesday evening, according to a police report.

An autopsy for Kelly found no signs of foul play or trauma, the Fulton County Medical Examiner said in a statement. Results from a toxicology report will available in three to four weeks.

Kelly had an extensive history of drug abuse, Kelly's uncle told police, according to their report.

The Kris Kross duo of Kelly and Chris "Daddy Mac" Smith was best known for "Jump" which topped the mainstream U.S. music charts in 1992 when Kelly and Smith were both 13 years old.

The duo, whose pants and shirts backward look was mimicked by fans, never scored a top 10 U.S. hit after "Jump" and released their third and final studio album, "Young, Rich & Dangerous," in 1996.

"To millions of fans worldwide, he was the trendsetting, backwards pants-wearing one-half of Kris Kross who loved making music," Kelly's family said in a statement. "But to us, he was just Chris - the kind, generous and fun-loving life of the party."

Hip-hop music mogul Jermaine Dupri, who discovered the group and produced many of their songs, called Kelly the "son I never had" in a statement posted online.

"I will always love you, Chris, and I will never let the world forget you, may god bless your soul," Dupri said.

Condolences have poured in from the rap and R&B community.

"One of my motivations as a kid to even get into the rap game," fellow Atlanta rapper Ludacris tweeted. "You will be missed. R.I.P. Chris Kelly."

Rapper LL Cool J dedicated his new song, "Jump On It," to Kelly.

"May GOD embrace your soul & lift up your family," he wrote on Twitter.

(Reporting by David Beasley; additional reporting by Eric Kelsey in Los Angeles; Editing by Colleen Jenkins, Doina Chiacu and Cynthia Osterman)

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