Steven Thronson, aka Saint Dog, founding member of Kottonmouth Kings, was pronounced dead at the scene October 13 in Victorville, California. He was only 44 years old, and the cause of death was not released, however, officials said a friend called 911 when he saw that Thronson was struggling to breathe.
“Rest In Peace, Rest In Power to a true underground legend,” Thronson’s Instagram account announced. “Saint Dog aka Saint Vicious passed away yesterday in Southern California. Saint was a unique individual that had a profound impact on anyone he came in contact with. While Saint is no longer with us, his music will live on forever. Rest easy, King,” management wrote on his Instagram.
Alongside fellow rappers D-Loc and Johnny Richter, Thronson was part of Kottonmouth Kings’ core. It’s doubtful that anyone pushed harder for legalization than Kottonmouth Kings during the group’s era. Formed in Placentia, California in 1996—Kottonmouth Kings were constantly chanting “legalize it” long before recreational cannabis became popular, and definitely before any states had legalized cannabis for adult use purposes. In 2012, Kottonmouth King’s member Pakelika passed away, after battling severe epilepsy.
While generally considered an alternative or underground group, Kottonmouth Kings enjoys a cult-like following, sometimes overlapping with the Juggalo movement, and hit number one on Billboard’s US Indie chart in 2008 with The Green Album, one of the group’s strongest efforts.
TMZ broke the news of Thronson’s death before anyone else. “Anyone that knew Steve saw what a big heart he had,” Suburban Noize Records executive Kevin Zinger told TMZ. “Some of my fondest memories was watching Steve stop the music in the middle of a Kottonmouth Kings show to bring a handicapped fan in a wheelchair on stage so that he could have a better view of the show and even join in singing a few songs. That was just the kind of person Steve was and he touched so many people in a positive way.”