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Friday
Nov182011

Heavy D's Funeral: Obama Sends Letter of Condolence

JIM RUYMEN/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Rapper Heavy D, who was known for his free-flowing, playful hip-hop style, was remembered by family and friends -- and President Obama -- in a funeral service held Friday in New York.

Last week, the 44-year-old rapper collapsed outside his Beverly Hills, Calif., condominium.

He was rushed to a Los Angeles hospital, where he was pronounced dead on Nov. 8.

"We extend our heartfelt condolences at this difficult time. He will be remembered for his infectious optimism and many contributions to American music. Please know that you and your family will be in our thoughts and prayers," the president wrote in a letter, which the Rev. Al Sharpton read at the service.

Singers such as Diddy and Usher attended the service held at the Grace Baptist Church in Heavy D's hometown of Mount Vernon, N.Y.

Heavy D was returning from a mall at around 11:30 a.m. and was climbing a set of stairs at his condominium when he experienced trouble breathing, according to the condo staff, who tried to help him to his home.

Ed Winters, a spokesman for the LA County coroner's office, told ABC News last week that medication for flu-like symptoms were found in Heavy D's home, although Winters declined to name the medication. He said no illegal drugs were found.

Born Dwight Arrington Myers in Jamaica, Heavy D was the youngest of six children. His mother Eulahlee, a nurse, and father Clifford, a film technician, moved the family to Mount Vernon, N.Y., when he was young.

Heavy D seemed poised for a comeback before his unexpected death.

Last month the rapper, known as the "overweight lover," turned up on the BET Hip-Hop Awards, his first live appearance in 15 years.

At 6 feet 3, Heavy D once weighed more than 300 pounds, but in 2005 he shed 160 pounds for the lead role in the Hollywood stage production Medal of Honor Rag, produced by Will Smith.

In September, he digitally released his ninth and final album, Love Opus.

He also made a cameo in Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller's new movie, Tower Heist, as his focus had shifted in recent years to TV and movie appearances.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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