Kevin Winter/Getty
Stephen M. Silverman
October 21, 2004 08:15 AM

Eminem’s uncle, said to have been a father figure to the rap star, has committed suicide, according to reports.

Todd Nelson, 42, shot himself in his Michigan backyard and his son discovered his body, according to SOHH, a New Jersey-based hip-hop news service. It is being reported that Nelson shot himself.

There has been no comment from Eminem, 32, or his Interscope Records regarding the tragedy.

The BBC reports that Betty Kresin, the grandmother of Eminem (real name: Marshall Mathers III), said that Nelson was arrested by police after trying to run over his neighbor’s dog and that he feared being jailed.

“We were having trouble raising $4,000 for an attorney, and I said ‘Why don’t you call Marshall?'” Kresin is quoted as saying. “He said ‘Mom, I don’t want to ask him for nothing, he’ll just think that I want his money.'”

Nelson is credited with raising the future rapper after Eminem’s father deserted the family, though Nelson and Eminem later fell out over the sale of a family house, say reports.

Says Kresin: “Oh he loved Marshall, oh my God, he was his uncle, and when he was little they played together and he helped watch him.”

SOHH reports that Nelson had been upset over a rottweiler owned by the local sheriff. In recent days, the dog had allegedly scratched Nelson’s car and scared his girlfriend’s son, though authorities reputedly took no action.

In 1991, another uncle of Eminem’s, Ronnie Polkingham, also committed suicide.

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