Veteran MC Heavy D received a star-studded sendoff at his funeral service held on Friday at Grace Baptist Church of Mount Vernon, N.Y., his hometown.
Rappers Jay-Z, Will Smith, Queen Latifah and longtime friend Diddy were among the A-listers who gathered with the dead MC's family to lay him to rest. Other entertainment icons such as Usher, Samuel L. Jackson and Don King also paid their respects.
U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama also marked the loss of the legendary rapper with a note of condolence and encouragement for the family.
We extend our heartfelt condolences at this difficult time, read the note from the Obamas, according to the Rev. Al Sharpton, who quoted from it during the service. 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.
Heavy D's 11-year-old daughter Xea Myers told the huge crowd that gathered that her father was still here, not in the flesh, but in the spirit.
Diddy, whose real name is Sean Combs, delivered Combs delivered a touching eulogy, reminding the gathering of how Heavy D gave him his first big break in the music industry.
(Heavy D) was the first person to believe in me, Combs told the gathering.
He became my friend. He became my brother, and I'm not talking about friend-brother like we cavalierly use the word, I'm talking about a real friend, a real brother, Diddy said. Somebody I shared my dreams and my secrets with, somebody that's been there for me at my lowest point, my darkest hour when nobody wanted to be beside me.
Heavy D was born Dwight Arrington Myer in Mandeville, Jamaica. He died at the age of 44 on Nov. 8 after collapsing outside his home in Beverly Hills, Calif. His family said the death was due to complications from pneumonia.
Heavy D had a major influence on rap as the phenomenon started to blossom in the late 1980s and 1990s.
Among his top hits were Now That We've Found Love and Nuttin' But Love.
According to The Associated Press, a large photo of Heavy D sat next to his closed casket.
After the funeral service Usher told The AP that Heavy D has silently been influential in a lot of entertainers' careers.
His love still lives on, Usher said.
A fund has been set up to offer financial aid to Heavy D's daughter. You can learn more on the Web site http://www.rememberheavyd.com.