Proof, an Eminem protégé and member of the Detroit rap outfit D12, was shot to death early Tuesday at a nightclub along Eight Mile Road.
"Memorial service arrangements are still being made, and his friends and family would appreciate privacy during this difficult time," said Dennis Dennehy, the publicist for D12 at Interscope Records.
According to a spokeswoman for the Detroit police, the 32-year-old Proof, whose real name was Deshaun Holton, was shot in the head after a fight erupted around 5 a.m. at C.C.C., a bar in a Eight Mile Road strip mall on Detroit's northern edge. The rapper was rushed to Holy Cross Hospital in a private vehicle, but was pronounced dead on arrival.
Dennehy added that, contrary to some early reports, another member of D12, Bizarre, was not involved in the shooting and was at home in Atlanta at the time.
Authorities said a 35-year-old man was also shot in the head and was listed in critical condition at St. John's Hospital, but his identity has been withheld.
Police say an investigation is underway and no suspects have been named. As of this morning, investigators were still casing the bar and its surroundings looking for anything that might aid them in the case.
According to the Associated Press, a blood stain was spotted on the street in front of the club and evidence technicians had marked a location across the street where shell casings had been found. Patrol officers also told AP that C.C.C. has racked up 18 incident reports since 1996, including a vice raid in December that resulted in citations mostly for underage drinking.
Meanwhile, since hearing of Proof's slaying, family members have gathered at a two-story home on Detroit's northwest side. A notice was posted on the rapper's Website Tuesday featuring a picture with the words "RIP Proof."
Proof's murder comes four months after another member of Eminem's entourage, Obie Trice, suffered minor gunshot wounds after coming under fire on Detroit's Lodge Freeway on New Year's Eve.
Proof, who sometimes went by Big Proof, was a founding member of D12 and considered a mainstay in Detroit's hip-hop scene. Last August, he released his solo debut, Searching for Jerry Garcia. He recorded two albums with D12, 2001's Devil's Night and 2004's D12 World, both of which topped the charts. The group, which also includes Eminem, was expected to head into the studio later this month and begin work on its third album.
Proof also served as Eminem's best man in January, when he swapped vows again with high school sweetheart, Kim Mathers. The rappers were good friends, with Proof also appearing in Slim Shady's blockbuster semiautobiographical film, 8 Mile, as Li'l Tic, the wordsmith who smacked down Em in an early rap battle.
And in a tragic coincidence, Proof played a murder victim in the Eminem video "Like Toy Soldiers," with Eminem and members of D12 attending his funeral.
Speaking to the hip-hop Website SOHH.com last summer to promote his album, Proof tried to distance himself from the violence in his lyrics.
"I feel that when you're put in a position of power to reach back to people who are in the streets still trying to make it that you try to make sure that people aren't beefing," he said. We're trying to have peace in the streets."
The Q&A ended with a question about what he hopes fans remember about him "when all is said and done."
"I'd want them to say that I'm a true artist," he said. "That as far as being who I am and expressing what it is that makes up me, that I did it the best and that I stayed true to the hip-hop roots.
"If I were to take my bow--which I never hope to do, I think I can rap forever--then I'd want people to understand that I did this for the love."