Thousands of fans gathered Wednesday to mourn XXXTentacion, who was killed earlier this month.
The 20-year-old rapper was shot and killed on June 18 while leaving a motorcycle dealership in Florida in what may have been an attempted robbery. XXXTentacion’s family organized Wednesday’s service — held at the BB&T Center in South Florida, about 25 miles from where he was killed — and included an open-coffin viewing onstage, The New York Times reports.
Screens in the arena showed photos of XXXTentacion, as well as quotes from his interviews and clips from his music videos, and fans had the option of leaving letters or other offerings for the rapper, who reportedly laid in a dark coffin in the center of the stage, surrounded by black flowers.
While the service began at noon and was scheduled to last until 6 p.m., mourners began lining up outside of the arena as early as 7 a.m., and an estimated 8,000 people had come to pay their respects by 3 p.m., The New York Times reports. Prior to the event, the rapper’s mother, Cleopatra Bernard, invited fans to come out and say their final goodbyes.
“He considered you all family and I wanted to do something special for you all,” Bernard wrote on Instagram.
Bernard revealed last week that her son was expecting a child with his girlfriend at the time of his death.
XXXTentacion, whose legal name was Jahseh Onfroy, was surrounded by controversy during his life, most notably due to allegations that he’d violently abused a former girlfriend. He was awaiting trial when he was killed, and his death sparked a flurry of debate regarding the memories of those alleged to have abused others during their lifetimes.
A June 19 memorial service for the slain rapper, held in Los Angeles, erupted into chaos when fans began climbing on top of cars and jumping off of roofs, People reports. Police in riot gear were called in to shut down the event and no arrests were made.
Dedrick Devonshay Williams, 20, was arrested in connection to XXXTentacion’s death on June 20 and booked on charges that included first degree murder, probation violation for theft of a car, and driving without a valid license. Police named 22-year-old Robert Allen as a person of interest in XXXTentacion’s murder on Wednesday, CNN reports.
[Photo: Family of the rapper collect items from a makeshift memorial outisde the XXXTentacion Funeral & Fan Memorial at BB&T Center on June 27, 2018 in Sunrise, Florida. By Jason Koerner/Getty Images]