R.I.P. Big Pun: 12th anniversary of his death should be wake up call for obese Latinos

If you’re a hip-hop fan you’ve probably heard of Christopher Lee Rios, otherwise known as Big Pun. As the first Latino rapper with a platinum album, Big Pun was known for his rapid and complex rhyme schemes. 12 years ago today, he died of a heart attack brought on by his life-long battle with obesity.

He struggled throughout his career with his weight and even checked himself into a clinic in North Carolina at one point--losing around 80 pounds before quickly gaining it back. Then in 2000, at only 28 years old, he died at his heaviest weight to date, 780 pounds.


Fans took to Twitter today to remember the rapper and dedicate their tweets to his most famous rhymes.

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His death also inspired some celebrity slimdowns. In fact, Big Pun’s former partner and close friend, Fat Joe, lost over 100 pounds in the last year and is now working with Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Campaign. According to the Daily News, Fat Joe, (aka Joseph Cartagena), decided he had to lose the weight after seeing six of his friends, including Big Pun, die prematurely because of obesity-related complications.

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The anniversary of Big Pun’s death once again spotlights the very real dangers of obesity. As Latinos, we pride ourselves on our culture, part of which involves eating traditional foods like arroz y frijoles or platanos fritos. Though we enjoy them often, it's rare that we think about the toll they're taking on our bodies. So, today we should not only remember Big Pun for his music, but also let his death serve as an important reminder that what we eat can directly affect our health and at times, even our life span.

 R.I.P. Big Pun.

How do you think Latinos can avoid obesity related problems?

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