1. Headline
  1. Headline
Image: Nate Dogg
Frazer Harrison  /  Getty Images
Nate Dogg collaborated with such hip-hop superstars as Eminem and Dr. Dre and was a founding member of the group 213 with Snoop Dogg and Warren G.
updated 3/16/2011 3:55:45 PM ET 2011-03-16T19:55:45

Singer Nate Dogg, whose near monotone crooning anchored some of rap's most seminal songs and helped define the sound of West coast hip-hop, has died at age 41.

Nate Dogg, whose real name was Nathaniel D. Hale, died Tuesday of complications from multiple strokes, said Attorney Mark Geragos.

Nate Dogg wasn't a rapper, but he was an integral figure in the genre: His deep voice wasn't particularly melodic, but its tone — at times menacing, at times playful, yet always charming — provided just the right touch on hits including Warren G's "Regulate," 50 Cent's "21 Questions," Dr. Dre's "The Next Episode" and countless others.

Grio.com: Original 'gangsta crooner' gone too soon

While Nate Dogg provided hooks for rappers from coast to coast, the Long Beach, Calif., native is best known for his contributions to the West Coast soundtrack provided by the likes of Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Tha Dogg Pound and more. Nate Dogg was even part of a "supergroup" featuring Snoop Dogg and Warren G, called 213.

Nate Dogg, who had suffered at least two strokes since 2008, also put out his own solo projects but was best known for his collaborations with others.

Last year, Warren G said Nate Dogg was in therapy but needed help.

"Everybody just gotta keep him in their prayers, 'cause he had two strokes and that's real dangerous. And a lot of people don't come back from that," he said in an interview to HipHollywood. "'Cause the game needs him, I need him."

After word of his death spread, tributes poured in on Twitter.

"We lost a true legend n hip hop n rnb. One of my best friends n a brother to me since 1986 when I was a sophomore at poly high where we met," Snoop Dogg tweeted Tuesday night.

Like Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg got his start on Death Row when he was signed to the groundbreaking label by Dr. Dre. Nate Dogg got his start singing in the local church choir. He dropped out of high school to join the Marines but after three years was dishonorably discharged.

He briefly got involved with the drug trade before forming a musical group with Snoop and Warren G. It was Warren G who was credited with giving their music to Dr. Dre.

Nate Dogg made his debut on Dr. Dre's classic album "The Chronic," and immediately distinguished himself with a trademarked sound: a low, steady croon that came across as intimidating as the rap verses.

His vocals made him one of the most sought after collaborators for rap songs. Fifty Cent, who tapped Nate Dogg for his 2003 love song "21 Questions," tweeted Tuesday: "I wrote the chorus to 21 questions I needed nate to sing it for me. He had a way of making everything feel hard."

    1. Like us on Facebook

      Follow our Facebook page, and get updates throughout the day about celebs, movies, TV and more.

    2. On Twitter? Follow us there!

Nate Dogg could be heard on songs ranging from Ludacris' "Area Codes" to Tupac Shakur's "All About U" to Eminem's "Shake That." Even as times changed, and rappers came and went, he didn't fall out of fashion.

He faced several legal problems. In 1996, he was acquitted of an armed robbery charge; a jury deadlocked on another and he was not retried. In 2000, Nate Dogg was accused of trying to kidnap an ex-girlfriend, but those charges were dismissed. He pleaded no contest to gun possession and was sentenced to probation.

In January of 2008, he suffered a debilitating stroke but a few months later was arrested for stalking and threatening his estranged wife. He appeared in court in a wheelchair. The charge was dropped a year later.

Nate Dogg spent the last years of his life trying to rebound from his medical problems.

"All dogs go to heaven ... RIP NATE DOGG," tweeted Snoop Dogg.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: Men of hip-hop

loading photos...
  1. 50 Cent

    Best known for his albums, "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" and "The Massacre," Curtis Jackson, aka 50 Cent, grew up in Queens, the son of a cocaine dealer, who was murdered in 1983. He followed his mom into the drug trade. In 2000, Jackson was shot nine times in front of his grandmother's home. Eminem heard his independently released album, "Guess Who's Back" and introduced Jackson to Dr. Dre, who signed him. Jackson also has an acting career in movies such as "Get Rich or Die Tryin'," "Home of the Brave" and "Righteous Kill." (Scott Gries / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Common

    Born Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr., Grammy-winning artist Common rose to fame with the albums "Like Water for Chocolate" and "Be." Common is sometimes considered an alternative rapper, because he tends to avoid degrading depictions of women and doesn't focus on material possessions. Common also has a successful acting career in films like "Smokin' Aces," "American Gangster" and "Wanted." He will next appear in "Terminator Salvation." (Rick Diamond / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Sean 'Diddy' Combs

    Grammy-winning rapper Sean Combs, aka Puff Daddy, P. Diddy and finally just Diddy, grew up in the public housing projects of Harlem, N.Y. In 1993, he started Bad Boy Records, with the Notorious B.I.G. as his primary artist. In 1997, he took to the mike with his debut album "No Way Out." Combs also has a clothing line, Sean John. Combs starred in "Raisin in the Sun" on Broadway and has appeared in the films "Monster's Ball" and "Made." His MTV show, "Making the Band," continues to flourish, and he even dipped into politic with his 2004 "Vote or Die" campaign. (Charley Gallay / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. DMX

    Earl Simmons, aka DMX, is best known for albums like "And Then There Was X" and "The Grand Champ" and his roles in films like "Romeo Must Die" and "Cradle 2 The Grave." The rapper has had multiple arrests for violent behavior, animal cruelty, reckless driving, drug possession and more. The rapper has five children with former wife Tashera Simmons. (Toby Canham / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Snoop Dogg

    Born Cordozar Calvin Broadus, Jr., Snoop Dogg is one of the West Coast's most famous MCs. Dr. Dre discovered Snoop, signing him to Death Row Records in 1992. "Doggystyle" was released in 1993, the same year that Snoop was arrested in the connection of Phillip Woldermarian's death. He was acquitted but found a kindred spirit in Tupac Shakur, who was dealing with his own criminal prosecution. He's faced a number of charges since, including drug possession and assault. Snoop Dogg also has an acting career, appearing in films such as "Starsky and Hutch" and "Soul Plane." ) (Lisa Maree Williams / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Eminem

    Grammy-winning rapper Eminem was born Marshall Bruce Mathers III and is best known for his albums "The Slim Shady LP" and "The Marshall Mathers LP." He's been married and divorced to Kimberley Anne Scott twice and share a daughter, Hailie Jade Scott. Eminem wrote the song "Kim" about Scott's alleged suicide attempt and she sued him for defamation. He's also faced legal woes from his mother, who sued him for slander for the lyrics about her on "The Slim Shady LP." He starred in the semi-autobiographical film, "8 Mile." (Andrew Medichyini / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Flo Rida

    Flo Rida, who was born Tramar Dilard, is known for his best-selling album, "R.O.O.T.S." As a teenager, he toured with Florida rap group, 2 Live Crew. In 2007, he signed with Poe Boy Entertainment, which features other Florida rappers such as Rick Ross, Trina and Trick Daddy. Flo Rida's hit singles include "Low," "Elevator," "In the Ayer" and "Right Round." (Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Jay-Z

    Born Shawn Corey Carter, Jay-Z is best known for his successful albums, "Reasonable Doubt," "Kingdom Come" and "The Black Album," as well as being one of the owners and founders of Roc-A-Fella, which includes Roc-A-Fella Records, Roc-La-Familia, Roc-A-Fella Films and his clothing line, Rocawear. In 1999, Jay-Z was accused of stabbing record executive Lance "Un" Rivera. He pleaded not guilty but did take a misdemeanor charge. He married Beyonce Knowles on April 4, 2008. Though, he's threatened to retire a few times, so far it hasn't stuck. (Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Ludacris

    Chris "Ludcris" Bridges is the highest-selling Southern hip-hop artist of all time. He's known for albums such as "Chicken-n-Beer," "The Red Light District" and "Release Therapy." Bridges also has a successful acting career with films such as "Crash," "Hustle & Flow," "RocknRolla" and "Max Payne." He also co-founded Def Jam's southern label, Disturbing the Peace. (Frazer Harrison / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Plies

    Born Algernod Lanier Washington, prolific rapper Plies is best known for his albums "The Real Testament," "Definition of Real" and "Da REAList," all of which were released in 2007 and 2008. In 2006, he was charged with illegal possession of a concealed weapon, while members of his entourage were charged with attempted murder in a shooting that injured five people. His next, as yet untitled, album is already on its way -- scheduled for release in May 2009. (Rick Diamond / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Soulja Boy

    ATLANTA - OCTOBER 18: Recording artist Soulja Boy during the 2008 BET Hip-Hop Awards Rehearsals Day 3 at The Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center on October 18, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images For BET) (Rick Diamond / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. T.I.

    Born Clifford Joseph Harris Jr., rapper T.I. is best known for albums such as "I’m Serious," "Urban Legend" and "T.I. vs. T.I.P." In 2007, T.I. was charged with possession of three unregistered machine guns and two silencers and possessions of firearms by a convicted felon. In March 2009, he began a one-year jail sentence. In preparation for jail, T.I. did 1,000 hours of community service and taped the MTV reality show, "Road to Redemption." He’s also found some time for acting, starring in "ATL," and appearing in "American Gangster." (Theo Wargo / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. T-Pain

    T-Pain, born Faheem Rasheed Najm, is best known for his albums "Rappa Ternt Sanga," "Epiphany" and "Thr33 Ringz." He's known for the use of the now ubiquitous auto-tune, an audio processer that can change pitch and deliberately distort the voice. It can also disguise vocal "mistakes." T-Pain began composing music at the age of 10. (Michael Caulfield / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Lil Wayne

    Born Michael Carter, Jr., rapper Lil Wayne is best known for his albums, "Tha Carter," "Tha Carter II" and "Tha Carter III." He was nominated for eight Grammy awards for "Tha Carter III" and took home four. Lil Wayne was arrested for marijuana possession in 2007 and again in 2008. He once told Katie Couric, "I will stand up for marijuana any day ... I'm a rapper. That's who I am, Miss Katie, and I am a gangster and I do what I want. And I love to smoke. And I smoke." (Jeff Gentner / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Kanye West

    Kanye West is known for his best-selling albums "The College Dropout," "Late Registration," "Graduation" and "808s & Heartbreak." West first caused controversy when he appeared on a 2006 issue of Rolling Stone magazine wearing a Jesus-like crown of thorns. He also stirred things up when he appeared alongside Mike Myers during NBC's "A Concert for Hurricane Relief," and said, "George Bush doesn't care about black people." West's mother Donda West died due to complications from cosmetic surgery. (Bryan Bedder / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Young Jeezy

    Born Jay Jenkins, rapper Young Jeezy is known for his albums "The Inspiration" and "The Recession." After Hurricane Katrina, Young Jeezy opened his home to victims. In 2006, he was arrested for carrying a concealed firearm, but was acquitted. He was arrested again in 2008 for driving under the influence. In Jan. 2009, he created controversy, when during a concert he proclaimed, "I wanna thank the mother---ers overseas that threw two shoes at George Bush." (Rick Diamond / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  1. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  2. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  3. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  4. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

More on TODAY.com

  1. @HillaryClinton/twitter

    Hillary Clinton: Granddaughter led me 'to speed up' political plans

    4/10/2015 3:58:42 PM +00:00 2015-04-10T15:58:42
  1. Courtesy Bryan Morseman

    Marathon dad's victories help raise money for son with spina bifida

    4/10/2015 5:54:50 PM +00:00 2015-04-10T17:54:50
  1. YouTube

    8 great celebrity impressions of other celebrities

    4/10/2015 6:44:22 PM +00:00 2015-04-10T18:44:22