Nipsey Hussle — the rapper and entrepreneur who was fatally shot in Los Angeles on March 31 — is being honored with a memorial service today at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Dubbed “Celebration of Life,” the event is intended to honor the rapper (born Ermias Joseph Asghedom), his work and his community outreach efforts. Many famous entertainers and athletes came out to pay their respects, including Big Sean, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Meek Mill, Lena Waithe and Cassie.
While former U.S. President Barack Obama is not in attendance, he wrote a letter to Hussle’s friends and family. Karen Civil, creator of Media Maven, read the letter to guests at the memorial service.
“I’d never met Nipsey Hussle, but I’d heard some of his music through my daughters, and after his passing, I’d had the chance to learn more about his transformation and his community work,” Obama wrote. “While most folks look at the Crenshaw neighborhood where he grew up and see only gangs, bullets and despair, Nipsey saw potential. He saw hope. He saw a community that, even through its flaws, taught him to always keep going.”
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The 33-year-old hip-hop star and activist will be laid to rest at the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Los Angeles following the service. Tickets for the Celebration of Life were free and ran out shortly after becoming available. It’s unclear how many spaces were up for grabs, but the Staples Center can hold around 21,000 people.
In addition to the celebrities spotted at the event, friends and fans took to social media to honor Hussle following his passing, among them Beyoncé, Drake, LeBron James and The Weeknd. Rihanna continued to celebrate Hussle online today, posting a drawing of the slain rapper to her Instagram account during the service.
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