Ricky Powell passed away at 59.
Ricky Powell, the NYC photographer best known for his portraits and candids of musicians and artists — most notably the Beastie Boys — is dead at 59. Tono Radvany, Powell’s manager and business partner confirmed the news to Complex.
“I just want to let everybody know he was a very special man, and he will be sorely missed,” Radvany said.
According to HipHopDX, the cause of death was was heart failure.
Powell is best known for the work he did with the Beastie Boys. The photographer went to school with Adam Horowitz and became known as the unofficial fourth member of the band, serving as their in-house photographer for their License to Ill tour, as well as popping up in music videos like “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party).”
Also a part of downtown Manhattan’s art and music scene, Powell would get portaits of artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring and Andy Warhol. He also took portraits of artists like Eric B and Rakim, LL Cool J, and Run-DMC. His photography was featured in collections such as 1998’s Oh Snap!: The Rap Photography of Ricky Powell and Public Access: Ricky Powell Photographs 1985-2005. In May of last year, a documentary was released about him titled Ricky Powell: The Individualist.
Powell also hosted a show on New York public access TV called Rappin’ With the Rickster, which featured appearances from Run-DMC, Laurence Fishburne, Eazy E, and others.
Since news of his passing, a number of people have shared tributes to Powell on social media, including Q-Tip, Chuck D, Questlove and more.
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Rip 2 my man Ricky Powell. So NYC official… the parties when he would rock the slides.. the jokes and most importantly his capturing of life 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/qhinT9a10S
— QTip (@QtipTheAbstract) February 2, 2021
#RestInBeats The Rickster aka RICKY Powell of course to the right of Clyde Frazier was the quintessential New York Cityer , iconic B Boy and the ‘freezer of great NEW YORK moments and figures’ as a photographer. He shot with authentic ease and NYC swag before the popular term pic.twitter.com/8omwjYvRXc
— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) February 2, 2021
rest in peace Ricky Powell.
— el-p (@therealelp) February 2, 2021
I have so many Ricky Powell stories . He used to call me Al-Skadal lol . What a guy. He will be missed. Smoking in your honor . 🙏🏽
— Alchemist Type Beat (@Alchemist) February 2, 2021
Man. RIP Ricky Powell, my favorite hip hop photographer ever. A year and a half ago I bought a few photo prints of his for my crib. He signed everything and was so cool about it. He always had so much flavor. pic.twitter.com/DWy8CogUNN
— Kibbutzy Collins (@atrak) February 2, 2021