(NEW YORK) -- Sean Combs, aka Diddy, is planning to speak Friday at the private funeral of rap legend Heavy D in Mount Vernon, New York.
Diddy issued a statement saying he was “heartbroken by the passing of my dear friend,” according to the New York Daily News.
The statement went on to say, “He was a wonderful human being, who inspired and paved the way for a hip hop generation. We were like brothers -- I will miss him more than words can express.”
On Monday, Heavy D’s family released their first public comments on the rap pioneer’s death.
“Hey had great love for his family and friends. He was a kind and giving spirit who extended and shared himself with everyone who crossed his path,” the statement said, adding he had a “heart of gold” and his greatest joy was being a father to his 13-year-old daughter, Xea.
“Though Hev will most notably be remembered for his work both behind-the-scenes and in the forefront, he will always be remembered by us as a generous soul who remained humble and unselfish till his final days,” the statement said.
Heavy D., born Dwight Arrington Myers, died last week at the age of 44 after collapsing outside his Los Angeles home of apparent respiratory distress.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the L.A. County coroner’s office deemed autopsy results inconclusive, and officials are now awaiting the results of toxicology tests. There will be a public viewing of his body Thursday at Grace Baptist Church in Mt. Vernon followed by Friday’s burial. Rev. Al Sharpton is also expected to speak at the private service.
Mary J. Blige, who worked with the “Nuttin’ But Love” emcee while he was with Uptown Records in the ’90s, said of Heavy D in a statement, “He was one of the people in my life who always had something inspiring and encouraging to say. He was so joyful and optimistic…His talent brought so much joy to our lives. I love you and miss you, Heavy.” Blige is reportedly expected to attend the funeral service as well.
BET is said to be planning a tribute to Heavy D at the November 27 Soul Train Awards. Expected participants include Curtis Blow, Doug E. Fresh, Big Daddy Kane, Naughty by Nature, and others, according to Billboard.
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