The singer - real name Nathaniel D. Hale - passed away unexpectedly on 15.03.11 in Long Beach, California. While the cause of his death is not presently known, he had previously suffered two strokes in 2007 and 2008.
Snoop Dogg, who had known Nate since school, tweeted: "We lost a true legend [of] hip hop n rnb. One of my best friends n a brother to me since 1986 when I was a sophomore at poly high where we met (sic).
"I love u buddy luv. U will always b wit me 4ever n a day (sic)."
Nate got his break appearing on Dr. Dre`s classic debut solo album `The Chronic` in 1992, but his breakthrough came with 1994 single, `Regulate`, alongside Warren G, widely acknowledged as one of the most successful ever tracks in the G-Funk genre.
Nate also worked extensively with rappers including Snoop, Ludacris, Eminem and Tupac Shakur. He appeared on more than 40 singles which made it into the US Billboard top 40 during his career and also released three albums of his own.
Ludacris - who worked with Nate on his `Area Codes` single - tweeted: "There is a certain void in hip hop`s heart that can never be filled. Glad we got to make history together."
Nate`s producer and friend, Fred Wreck, also tweeted, saying: "What I wouldn`t give to hear him say "Roll One" just one more time. To the world you were a legend but to me you were my friend. iLuvUNate (sic)."