NEW YORK – A funeral for troubled rapper O.D.B. (search) was set for Thursday in Brooklyn as family and friends continued to remember the artist.
Those attending the wake for O.D.B., in a casket surrounded by red and white flowers, focused on the positives in his life.
"He just loved life," said his father, William Jones, a retired New York City Transit employee who now lives in Newport News, Va. He said he had last spoken to his son, born Russell Jones (search), about three weeks ago.
Jones, 35, collapsed and died Saturday inside a Manhattan recording studio. The cause of death remained undetermined, but the co-founder of the seminal rap group Wu-Tang Clan (search) had struggled with drug and alcohol addictions. He had complained of chest pains before he died.
The casket at a Harlem church holding Jones' body was half-open, with a blanket of white flowers across its lower half. Other floral arrangements flanked the casket in the front of the church, where mourners walked past the body. Jones' wife, Icelene Jones, sat in the front pew, and relatives, fans and friends gathered inside and outside the St. James Presbyterian Church.
O.D.B. was known for his unique rap styles, which ranged from the slurred to the hyper to the nonsensical. Even in the nine-man Clan, with featured such future stars as Method Man, RZA and Ghostface Killa, he stood out. He recently signed with Roc-a-Fella records.
"He was a true artist and he also dealt with a lot of pain in his life," Roc-A-Fella founder Damon Dash said before entering the church.
Shortly before his death, Jones had finished a prison sentence for drug possession and for escaping from a rehabilitation clinic. But the visitors who turned out Wednesday were more focused on Jones' accomplishments.
Nathalie Dantignac, 53, said her sister was Jones' godmother. Her own son had grown up in Brooklyn with the future rap star, she recalled.
Jones was a "sweet, quiet kid," Dantignac said. "My son was a jokester too, so I guess that's why they clicked when they were young."