Rap mogul Russell Simmons joined hip-hop fans in New York on Thursday (17Nov11) to bid farewell to Heavy D at a public memorial service.
The veteran MC, real name Dwight Arrington Myers, died last week (08Nov11) after neighbours found him unconscious outside his home in Beverly Hills, California.
Mary J. Blige and Sean 'Diddy' Combs are set to attend the rapper's funeral on Friday (18Nov11), but the late star's family gave his followers the chance to say goodbye to their idol with an open memorial on Thursday.
Fans flocked to the Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon to see Heavy D - wearing a grey suit - in an open casket, above which a screen played footage of the performer from the early days of his career.
Police officers were forced to set up street barricades as the queue outside stretched around three blocks, while Heavy D's relatives were on hand to thank visitors for their support, according to MTV News.
Later on in the day, Simmons and his ex-wife Kimora Lee Simmons joined the mourners.
In a series of posts on his Twitter.com, he writes, "Just left Heavy's viewing and service. Very sad. Everyone loved the overweight lover. So many people loved Heavy. I (have) never seen Kimora cry so much. So many people loved him. I loved him."