WASHINGTON - Gil Scott-Heron, a US poet and songwriter credited with helping inspire the development of rap music, has died at age 62, according to media reports on Saturday.
Scott-Heron died on Friday at a New York hospital, National Public Radio said, citing his book publisher. He fell ill after returning from a trip to Europe, news reports said.
The Chicago-born artist was called the "Godfather of Rap", a term he disliked, for his groundbreaking spoken-word performances set to music, including "The Revolution Will Not be Televised" in the early 1970s.
He recorded more than a dozen albums and was hailed as an important influence by hip-hop performers such as Kanye West. Considered a voice of African-American activism, Scott-Heron was also a musical critic of apartheid and nuclear power.
After serving a prison sentence for drug possession, Scott-Heron released an acclaimed album last year, "I'm New Here".