*Nate Dogg, the California rapper whose real name is Nathaniel D. Hale, died at the age of 41 on Tuesday (Mar. 15).

The news was first reported by Long Beach, Calif. newspaper the Press-Telegram, which did not specify the cause of death; TMZ has since confirmed the report.

Nate had suffered from a number of serious health issues in recent years, most notably in 2007 when he suffered a massive stroke, followed by another in 2008.

As news of Nate Dogg’s death began to circulate last night, his brother Samuel phoned into the Los Angeles radio station KDAY thanking fans for their tributes and kind words. Samuel noted that Nate had experienced declining health for the past three years, but declined to reveal the exact cause of death.

After showcasing his laid-back rapping/singing delivery on Dr. Dre’s classic debut album “The Chronic,” Nate Dogg was featured on Warren G’s 1994 single “Regulate,” which peaked at No. 2 on the Hot 100.

The song was the first of a number of hip-hop singles, including Dr. Dre’s “The Next Episode,” Fabolous’ “Can’t Deny It,” Ludacris’ “Area Codes” and Eminem’s “Shake That,” to feature a vocal hook from the rapper. Nate Dogg’s most recent solo album, “Nate Dogg,” was released in 2008.

News of the rapper’s death has sent shockwaves through the music industry, with a number of his friends and colleagues paying tribute.

Snoop Dogg posted a note on his Twitter account saying: “RIP NATE DOGG.”

Ludacris said on Twitter: “There is a certain void in hip hop’s heart that can never be filled. Glad we got to make history together.”