"The police saved my life, a black man. In this day and age, people need to hear that," said Kurtis Blow (via a statement shared by the LAPD).
As of Friday (Nov. 4), hip-hop pioneer Kurtis Blow is still in the hospital recovering from a heart attack he suffered the preceding Saturday (Oct. 29) at a bus stop in Canoga Park in LA. The popular 80s rapper, whose real name is Kurtis Walker, has credited a group of police officers with saving his life, according to a press release shared by the LAPD. "I died and these officers saved my life," Walker is quoted as saying. "The police saved my life, a black man. In this day and age, people need to hear that."
Officers Peter Parra, Felix Rodriguez, Chris Vege, and Calvin Hill arrived at the scene in response to a call from a security guard about an altercation that turned out to involve the 57-year-old rapper and his 20-year-old son. According to the press release, police soon became aware that there was no crime being committed, though officers still approached the two men. "As soon as we walked up to the group, the older man just collapsed," Vege said. "We didn't think about it, we just acted."
"I swept his airway for obstructions," said Vega, "and Officer Hill started chest compressions." The chest compressions reportedly continued for several minutes, until paramedics arrived and transported Walker to West Hill Hospital. "I know the paramedics came quickly, but it seemed like a really long time when you're pressing on a man's chest, hoping he won't die," said Hill.
Walker apparently wishes to meet the officers who saved him. “They got there so fast. If they got there any later, I would have died,” he said via the LAPD's statement. "I want to thank the officers from the bottom of my heart, no pun intended.”
Kurtis Blow is known as one of the first hip-hop acts to break into the mainstream and for giving the genre its first gold single with 1980's "The Breaks."