Peter Dougherty, the co-creator of the hip-hop program Yo! MTV Raps, passed away at his New York home on Oct. 12. at the age of 59. The cause of death, confirmed by his brother Paul, was a heart attack, The New York Times reports.
The show, which ran on MTV from 1988 to 1995, was the channel’s first hip-hop centered program. It premiered new videos, featured live performances and interviews with prominent rap stars and was credited with bringing the urban genre into suburban homes. At the time, it was the highest-rated program in the history of MTV. Dougherty co-created the show with Ted Demme, who passed away from a heart attack in 2002.
Dougherty worked as a producer for MTV who created various edgy promotional spots before Yo! MTV Raps, and also directed music videos such as “Hold It Now, Hit It” by the Beastie Boys. He was a huge fan of all types of music, and became good friends with Rick Rubin and Fab 5 Freddy, who was the first host of the show.
“[He] was always the guy who took you to the newest, coolest club, the most underground place,” said Doug Herzog, the President of music and entertainment at Viacom who worked as a programming executive for MTV during Dougherty’s time there. “People like Peter were always pushing: ‘Let’s be hipper, more cutting edge. What’s the new thing?'”
On Twitter, coworkers and a few musicians such as Spider Stacy from the punk band, The Pogues, sent their condolences.
Lost a piece of our mtv family heart & soul w/ the sudden passing of Peter Dougherty.Loving everyone who loved him. pic.twitter.com/0AFNVTueNa
— Rob Barnett (@DamnRob) October 14, 2015
So sad to hear our friend Peter Dougherty, co-creator of MTV’s Yo Raps & the man who directed this, has passed away https://t.co/0aTSUVk0uF
— Spider Stacy (@spiderstacy) October 13, 2015
Our thoughts go out to his family and friends during this difficult time.