Patrick "Pakelika" Cochrun, the former masked member of Placentia-bred hip-hop hybrid Kottonmouth Kings, died on Saturday night after succumbing to cardiac arrest during an asthma attack.

The band, lead by Brad "Daddy X" Xavier, first posted on Facebook that the former hype man was admitted to the hospital because of "serious health issues." They updated their status to confirm his passing about an hour later. Though he'd left the group in 2010 due to internal conflicts and to pursue of his acting career, the self-proclaimed "Visual Assassin" was an integral part of the group's rise to stoner rap notoriety through their live shows. At 6'7" tall, he was a towering presence on stage with a goofy gangsta persona and encyclopedic pot knowledge.

According to a statement from Cochrun's manager Doug Cosgro, the performer battled asthma for many years.

"There's no way he could have foreseen the severity of his last seizure," Cosgro says. "On the way to the hospital, EMTs and hospital staff tried to revive him the five times he flatlined. He was on life support until Saturday afternoon at Providence St. Joseph Hospital in Burbank. He passed surrounded by friends and family."

After leaving the group, Pakelika, aka "Big Pak", started a new group called Middle Class Casualties.

Among the outpouring of messages from fans and KMK members, the band published this note on their blog yesterday. This news came on the eve of the release of their new album, Mile High, which drops in stores tomorrow:

Kings and Kweens,

We are out on the Mile high tour preparing for the release of "Mile High" this Tuesday-At such a exciting time for the Group. We were blindsided, shocked and saddened by the terrible news about former member & friend, Pakelika's sudden death. Nothing prepares you for such news. It is another example of how precious life really is. It has been a couple years since Big Pak performed with the Kings, but his presence and impact will be felt and live forever. Patrick "Pakelika" Cochrun was a very unique and special person. He is a man that had convictions and honor. We had traveled the world together and played hundreds of shows together. The memories and experiences we had together will live forever in our hearts and souls. We want to thank the underground for the tremendous outpouring of grief and support.Take care of yourselves and spread love and positive vibrations..Rest in peace Big Pak you will be missed! - Kmk

If you're not too busy to take a slice out of your day to take a toke or two in Big Pak's honor, we suggest you do so. In case you're wondering how the big, lanky street hustler with gold chains and a burn patient's mask managed to join the carnival of KMK, take a look at this video and witness one of the greatest stories ever told.

Here's hoping that he's already begun to R.I.P.---his bong in heaven.

Watch the video 'The Birth of Pakelika' Below