The news this week that rap legend and superstar producer Dr. Dre had been hospitalized after suffering a brain aneurysm seemed to blindside fans, and many expressed their shock and shared their support on social media. And while Dre (born Andre Young) has perhaps never dealt with a health crisis on a scale as public as this one, it seems he’s weathered as much trauma as he’s had success.
As a member of the seminal hip hop group N.W.A., Dre was one of the people most responsible for the cultural rise and chart dominance of West Coast gangsta rap in the 1980s and ’90s. Later, he founded Death Row Records and went on to produce for icons like 2Pac, Kendrick Lamar, and Snoop Dogg. For all the success though, life has never been particularly easy for Dr. Dre, who has suffered a great deal of loss in his life, including the death of his 20-year-old son, Andre Young Jr., in 2008. Even then, Dre was no stranger to grief. He’d lost loved ones before.
As a young man growing up in Compton, Dre dealt with constant upheaval. According to thethings.com, his mother gave birth to him when she was a teenager, leaving Dre to mainly be raised by his grandmother.
Success and the loss of Dr. Dre's brothers
Later, as Exclaim reports, his mother would remarry, having several other children and step-children (including the rapper Warren G). Among those children from remarriage were Dre’s half-brothers, Jerome and Tyree. Sadly, Jerome died after a bout with pneumonia as an infant.
Then, in 1989, just as N.W.A. ‘s popularity was surging thanks to the success of the album Straight Outta Compton, Dre lost his brother Tyree Crayon in a violent incident. According to Savage Watch, Crayon’s death was caused by injuries he sustained when, after a verbal altercation while driving on Crenshaw Boulevard, a man threw Crayon to the ground and broke his neck. The death was ruled a homicide and has never been solved. Dre later dedicated a track called “The Message” off the album 2001 to Jerome.
Hollywood.com shared an excerpt of an interview Dre gave to British publication The Times, in which he spoke candidly about the effect the cumulative grief has had on him. He explained, “There’s this certain pain that I feel — and I don’t know if it’s because of my brother’s death, or (other) deaths in the family — but it’s this thing.”
Despite the serious health scare, countless fans are no doubt hoping the fortitude that Dre’s developed as a result of these traumas can help him get through this one, too.
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