Barack Obama Sends Heartfelt Letter to Nipsey Hussle's Family on Day of Memorial: 'He Saw Hope'
"I'd never met Nipsey but heard his music through my daughters ... I had the chance to learn more about his transformation and his community work," Barack Obama wrote
During the late rapper’s memorial at Los Angeles’ Staples Center on Thursday, Hussle’s business partner, Karen Civil, read a letter from the former President which he sent hours before the start of the funeral.
“Dear Friends and Family of Nipsey: I’d never met Nipsey Hussle, but I’d heard some of his music through my daughters, and after his passing, I had the chance to learn more about his transformation and his community work,” Obama said of his daughters Sasha, 17, and Malia, 20.
“While most folks look at the Crenshaw neighborhood where he grew up and see only gangs, bullets, and despair, Nipsey saw potential. He saw hope. He saw a community that, even through its flaws, taught him to always keep going,” Obama said, honoring Hussle’s hometown and his philanthropic work.
“His choice to invest in that community rather than ignore it — to build a skills training center and a coworking space in Crenshaw; to lift up the Eritrean-American community; to set an example for young people to follow — is a legacy worthy of celebration. I hope his memory inspires more good work in Crenshaw and communities like it,” he continued.
“Michelle and I send our sympathies to Lauren, Emani, Kross and the entire Asghedom family and to all those who loved Nipsey,” Obama , 57, said.
Hussle, 33, died from gunshot wounds of both the head and torso on March 31, the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner confirmed. “Paramedics were called and [Hussle who was born Ermias Joseph Asghedom] was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m.,” the coroner said, in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.
Hussle is survived by his two children: daughter Emani from a previous relationship and son Kross, 2, with his girlfriend, actress Lauren London, 34.
London previously paid tribute to her boyfriend of five years on Instagram, sharing a slideshow of photos of them together with their family. “I am completely lost,” London wrote. “I’ve lost my best friend, my sanctuary, my protector, my soul. We are lost without you babe — I have no words.”
Eric Holder, 29, has since been charged with one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon, according to a release from the Los Angeles County’s District Attorney’s Office.
On April 4, he entered a plea of not guilty in court. Holder could face a maximum sentence of life in state prison if convicted.
Holder has hired attorney Chris Darden, who famously was part of the prosecution team in O.J. Simpson’s murder trial, according to CBSLA.