Big Pokey’s cause of death a mystery as autopsy lists no cause

A Jefferson County, Texas, official said preliminary autopsy findings for Pokey did not point to a "pathological cause of death."

The city of Houston lost a legend with the death of Milton “Big Pokey” Powell, but it remains unclear what exactly happened to the rapper.

Preliminary autopsy results could not identify the cause of death for the Houston native, who died after collapsing late Sunday during a performance at Pour09 Bar & Rooftop in Beaumont, Texas, according to 12 News Now.

Tom Gillam III, justice of the peace for Jefferson County’s Precinct 8, stated Tuesday that preliminary findings did not point to a “pathological cause of death.”

Big Pokey dies
Milton “Big Pokey” Powell, a Houston rapper credited with elevating the city’s hip-hop scene, died Sunday after collapsing during a show in Beaumont, Texas. He was 48. (Photo: Jamaal Ellis/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Toxicology results for the autopsy are pending. Gillam said such testing typically requires 30 to 90 days.

Big Pokey was a founding member of the Houston hip-hop collective Screwed Up Click, along with Z-Ro, DJ Screw, Fat Pat, Lil’ Flip and Lil’ Keke.

Fellow rapper Bun B called Pokey one of the city’s most naturally talented musicians in a tribute message posted on Instagram. He described him as a humble, low-key mountain of a man who moved with respect and honor.

“He was easy to love and hard to hate. He’d pull up, do what he had to do and head home. One of the pillars of our city,” Bun B added, 12 News reported.

Social media videos show Big Pokey talking to a DJ on the bar’s second level before passing out. In the footage, a woman forces her way through, identifying herself as a nurse and beginning assistance efforts.

Pokey, 48, appeared at Pour09 Sunday for a Juneteenth celebration. Beaumont police were called to help the fire department and EMS from 12:03 a.m. to 12:43 a.m.

Pour09’s owner, Min Dai, said there were Beaumont police officers present for the event. He noted that Pokey was able to receive medical attention and was taken right away to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Beaumont, where he was pronounced dead.

On Saturday, June 24, the bar will commemorate its second anniversary and pay respect to Pokey from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. The rapper’s family will receive half of the proceeds from tickets sold to the event, hosted by Houston-based DJ Mr. Rogers and comedian Bubba Dub.

It was a “very sad incident,” Dai said, according to 12 News.

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