South Florida DJ and music producer Erick Morillo, known for hits like "I Like to Move It," was found dead in Miami Beach on Tuesday, authorities said. He was 49. Morillo, who played a pivotal role in popularizing house music in the 1990s, was facing charges of sexual battery after he was arrested last month and was about to appear in court this week.
Police said that they received a call from Morillo's home on Tuesday morning and on reaching the scene found the Colombian-American DJ dead. Initial reports say that there was no foul play but investigation remains open and the cause of the death will be determined soon.
Gone too Soon
Miami Beach Police spokesperson Ernesto Rodriguez said that they received a 911 call from Morillo's home at 5660 La Gorce Drive. On reaching the scene they found the DJ lying dead on his bed. The cause of death has not yet been determined but authorities believe that it could be because of drug overdose. The cause of death will be determined by the Miami Dade Medical Examiner's Office.
Morillo was born in New York in 1971 but spent most of his pre-teen years in Colombia before returning to the U.S. with his family and settling in New Jersey. He began DJing as a teenager and teamed up with Latin musician El General, with whom he collaborated on the 1991 single "Muevelo." The song, a mixture of house music and reggae, became a hit, making him an overnight star.
For almost three decades, Morillo remained a popular figure in the world of house music, post-disco sound born in Chicago in the 1980s and was taken for a global ride the next decade by British rave DJs including Paul Oakenfold and Pete Tong.
He gained popularity with house music and the 1993 song "I Like to Move It," remains his biggest hit. The song was later featured prominently in the 'Madagascar' animated film franchise. He had also won several awards at the DJ Awards, including Best International DJ.
A Tragic End
Although preliminary report says that there was no foul play in his death, it also leaves several questions unanswered, especially if he had raped a fellow DJ. Morillo was facing charges of sexual battery after he was arrested last month. He was accused of rape in December 2019 at his home and turned himself in on August 6. He had been free on a $25,000 bond, and his next hearing was scheduled for Friday.
According to an the incident report, Morillo and the unnamed woman were DJing at a party on Miami's Star Island, and afterwards, they went back to his Miami Beach home for drinks. The victim told police that Morillo "made several advances towards her, some sexual in nature, but she refused all of his attempts" and eventually went to sleep in another room. She also "reported waking up nude on the bed, with Mr. Morillo standing on the side of the bed also nude" in the arrest report.
Morillo, however, had denied the allegations at the time of his arrest. The DJ also struggled with substance abuse throughout his career, and in 2013 had announced that he was taking some time off after he missed a show and behaved erratically at another.