Famous DJ Erick Morillo, perhaps best known for producing the 1993 hit song “I Like to Move It” under the pseudonym Reel 2 Real, has reportedly passed away. According to TMZ, law enforcement sources say that Morillo’s body was found on Tuesday morning in Miami Beach. Another report from NBC states officers founded the DJ’s body after responding to a 911 call at his home, adding that there were no apparent signs of foul play. No other details have been given concerning the nature of Morillo’s passing, and his cause of death has not yet been revealed. He was 49 years old.
Word of Morillo’s sudden passing comes just weeks after the musician and producer had been arrested on charges of sexual battery upon a woman. The charges stem form an alleged incident in December of last year when Morillo’s accuser and another woman went to his home in Miami Beach. Allegedly, Morillo “made several advances towards her, some sexual in nature, but she refused all of his attempts.”
Intoxicated, the woman says she went to sleep in a private bedroom. According to the arrest report, she also “reported waking up nude on the bed, with Mr. Morillo standing on the side of the bed also nude.” Reportedly, the results of a rape kit also tested positive for Morillo’s DNA. The “I Like to Move It” DJ turned himself in on Aug. 6 with his attorney, denying the accusations.
A New York native, Morillo was born in 1971. After graduating from high school, he began working as a DJ in local clubs, leading to collaborations with El General, “Little” Louie Vega, and Marc Anthony. Through the label Strictly Rhythm, Morillo began to find greater fame when he began producing music under the alias Reel 2 Real, starting with the hit 1992 song, “The New Anthem.”
Of course, Morillo’s most popular song would arrive the next year when he produced “I Like to Move It,” which featured vocals from The Mad Stuntman. The song peaked at No. 89 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has since become one of the most recognizable songs of its era. In 2005, it once again reached newfound levels of mainstream popularity when “I Like to Move It” was covered by Sacha Baron Cohen for the animated comedy Madagascar with the song becoming the official theme of the franchise.
Morillo had been awarded with many additional accolades during his music career. This includes being named the DJ Awards’ Best House DJ three times along with three additional wins for Best International DJ. In 2012, he was also honored in a ceremony in Union City, New Jersey where he had spent several years of his youth, with Mayor Brian Stack dedicating a portion of Bergenline Avenue as “Erick Morillo Way.”
Additional details concerning the nature of Morillo’s death are likely to be made clear in the days ahead. The Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office will officially determine the cause of death. May he rest in peace. This news was first reported by TMZ with additional details coming to us from NBC.