Miami, Oct 15: Hours after suffering a medical episode that forced a Delta Air Lines plane to return to Florida so he could be taken to the hospital, rapper Rick Ross tweeted that he still planned to perform as scheduled in Memphis, Tennessee, on Friday evening.
“Memphis here I come,” he tweeted on his official website, which also featured a video message from him aboard a second Memphis-bound plane.
But Ross didn't appear as scheduled early Friday evening at a University of Memphis event called “Memphis Madness.”
WMC-TV in Memphis reported Friday night that Ross was hospitalized in Birmingham, Alabama, after a second medical incident.
Birmingham airport spokeswoman Toni Bast confirmed that a private plane traveling from Fort Lauderdale to Memphis made an unscheduled landing in Birmingham at around 5:30 p.m. because of a medical emergency, but she could not provide any further details.
Ross, 34, was scheduled to perform Friday night at the University of Memphis basketball team's midnight opening practice event. Calls to his publicist were not returned Friday.
At about 1 p.m. Friday, Ross was on a Delta Air Lines flight from Fort Lauderdale to Memphis when he suffered an unspecified medical problem. The flight, carrying 121 passengers, returned to Fort Lauderdale.
Mike Jachles, a spokesman for Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue, said the flight landed at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and was met by paramedics. They performed what Jachles called “advanced life-support care,” though it did not include CPR.
Jachles could not specify what exact care Ross was given, but he said the performer was stable, breathing, conscious and alert.
Ross was in a seat when paramedics reached him and he walked off the plane, Jachles said. He was taken to a terminal area where he was evaluated before being transported to a hospital to be checked out.
Jachles said there was a doctor on the plane who had tried to assist Ross, though he could not say what, if anything, the doctor did.
“Nobody told us, either when we were advised, dispatched or on the scene, no mention was made of CPR being initiated or in progress,” Jachles said.
Soon after going to the hospital, Ross contacted Memphis to tell them he was still coming.
“He called a member of our staff and said not to believe what's out there and that he's on his way to perform at Memphis Madness,” Lamar Chance, a university athletics department spokesman, said Friday afternoon.
Memphis officials declined to comment Friday night.
The Miami-based gangsta rapper gained fame with his husky voice and lyrics that spotlighted the grimier side of Miami life. He has become one of rap's most popular figures in recent years.
Ross, whose real name is William Leonard Roberts II, has a new album titled “God Forgives, I Don't,” due out in December.
The hefty rapper's hits include “Aston Martin Music,” “B.M.F. (Blowing Money Fast)” and “Hustlin'.”