David James “Young King Dave” Nixon has passed away at 19—but not before imparting a little wit and wisdom on this bleak world.
His Instagram bio was changed on Thursday to announce his passing: “With deep regret we would like to inform you that YKD passed away and is at peace.” Dave was pursuing a rap career, and made music with his friends in their hometown of Middletown, NJ.
Chris Clemenza, his manager and friend since childhood, told me in a phone conversation that YKD had been in the hospital for weeks, recovering from a collapsed lung. He died from complications during recovery and hospital stay, according to Clemenza.
Following his death, several friends started posting videos and tributes in his memory. I spoke to several of these friends, who told me that he was deeply loved and deeply missed. A GoFundMe campaign is set up in his honor, to cover funeral costs and donations to Make a Wish Foundation.
His trademark style—videos of himself making observations about the world around him and telling viewers to hit up his line to hang out and enjoy the day—gained him internet virality. “It’s fuckin’ nice out!” YKD announced in a January 2017 video. “Who’s down to chill and smoke some loud, feel me? I got loud.”
It was a running joke that YKD didn’t get why people loved his wry wit and fat doink videos so much, but Clemenza told me that he always wanted to be famous and make people laugh.
“He said he knew it would happen, his whole life,” Clemenza told me in a phone conversation. “I grew up with him so I know he was always trying to rap and do the same things he was doing before he was famous.”
What kind of legacy will Dave leave behind?
“They’re gonna remember him for doinks!” Clemenza said, jokingly. “He knew how to make everyone laugh and make their day better no matter what it was… He was always so happy and filled with joy, he just knew how to make me laugh.”
Update 5/17 9:30 p.m. EST: As a tribute to their friend, Clemenza (aka MenSa) and fellow musician $tandard wrote a song honoring Dave’s passing:
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