Chart-topping US rapper XXXTentacion was shot dead in South Florida on Monday, June 18.
The rapper’s latest album debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 chart, making it his second consecutive hit record.
XXXTentacion, whose real name is Jahseh Onfroy, was gunned down outside of a motorcycle dealership in Deerfield Beach, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office announced.
He was taken to hospital soon after where he was pronounced dead.
XXXTentacion had been at RIVA Motorsports checking out inventory, the sheriff’s office said. He was in a black luxury vehicle and preparing to leave when two armed suspects approached him. At least one of them fired, and then both suspects fled the scene in a dark SUV.
Investigators say the attack may have been robbery, as a Louis Vuitton bag was taken from the back seat of the rapper’s car.
Despite his huge popularity, XXXTentacion was often described as one of rap’s most controversial artists and was facing domestic violence, aggravated battery and false imprisonment charges stemming from 2016.
According to the Miami New Times, his ex-girlfriend Geneva Ayala’s depositions “detail a pattern of regular, torturous abuse that summer, with daily verbal attacks and physical incidents every three or four days.”
According to Ayala’s statement, he beat her at times, choked her, broke clothes hangers on her legs, threatened to chop off her hair or cut out her tongue, pressed knives or scissors to her face, and held her head underwater in their bathroom while threatening to drown her.
From tough upbringing to number one
XXXTentacion had a troubled upbringing and was expelled from middle school for fighting, but he channelled his energy and fury into music.
He quickly cemented himself as the most popular artist within the SoundCloud Rap genre, defined by its languid, hazy beats and wide-ranging influences.His surging popularity was noted by the music industry and, by October 2017, he had scored a distribution agreement reportedly worth $6 million.
But his career was already being overshadowed by his legal problems. Fans were apparently unswayed, sending his latest album to number one in the US.
The rapper, who first found fame by uploading his music onto online music platform SoundCloud, has been hailed as a breakthrough talent as tributes pour in from hip-hop luminaries in the wake of his death.
Kanye West tweeted: “I never told you how much you inspired me when you were here thank you for existing.”
rest in peace ??? I never told you how much you inspired me when you were here thank you for existing pic.twitter.com/QU7DR3Ghbw
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) June 18, 2018
While rapper Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs described XXXTentacion as “one of the most interesting people I have met.”
One of the most interesting people I’ve ever met. Let’s love each other while we’re alive.
REST IN PEACE YOUNG KING. pic.twitter.com/wwxDOLeaxB
— Diddy (@Diddy) June 19, 2018
Among others, rapper J Cole’s tribute read: “Enormous talent and limitless potential. God bless his family, friends, and fans.”
Documentary maker Louis Theroux said: “Notwithstanding personal demons, he was a huge talent & bringing a beautiful new feel to hip hop. So sad.”