November 18, 2004 08:00 AM

Mourners paid their respects to Ol’ Dirty Bastard and recalled the rapper’s accomplishments Wednesday at a Harlem church in New York City, the Associated Press reports.

O.D.B. (real name: Russell Jones) died suddenly Saturday after he collapsed inside a Manhattan recording studio. Jones would have been 36 on Monday.

On Wednesday, friends, fans and family turned out to the public wake in Harlem, focusing on the positive aspects of Jones’s life, rather than his frequent run-ins with the law and his well-publicized problem with drugs and alcohol.

Roc-a-Fella Records founder Damon Dash called Jones “a true artist,” AP reports. “He also dealt with a lot of pain in his life,” Dash said of the rapper, who had recently signed a deal with Roc-a-Fella.

That recording deal may have been the start of a new course for O.D.B., who recently finished serving a time for drug possession and his escape from a rehabilitation facility. The rapper was recognized as one of the premiere talents of the seminal group Wu-Tang Clan, which also featured RZA, Method Man and Ghostface Killah.

Jones was working in the studio Saturday when he complained of chest pains and collapsed. Paramedics arrived at the studio within five minutes, but Jones had already died.

A second wake is scheduled for Thursday, and a funeral will follow.

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