Obama praises Nipsey Hussle in heartfelt letter read at slain rapper's memorial

Former US President Barack Obama said that he had never met the rapper but he appreciated his efforts to transform his South Los Angeles community

                            Obama praises Nipsey Hussle in heartfelt letter read at slain rapper's memorial

Ermias Joseph Asghedom aka Nipsey Hussle, 33, was fatally shot multiple times while he was in the parking lot of his store Marathon Clothing on March 31. He was shot five times in the torso and one time in the head and was declared dead at the California Hospital Medical Center. 

The memorial for slain rapper, which is being held at Los Angeles' Staples Center, will be followed by a 25-mile procession through the streets of South Los Angeles on Thursday.

At the start of the slain rapper's funeral, a letter from former president Barack Obama extolling the virtues of Nipsey Hussle has been read.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to young leaders from across Europe in a Town Hall-styled session on April 06, 2019 in Berlin, Germany

The letter from Obama said he had never met the rapper, but had "heard his music through my daughters" and he later learned about Hussle's transformation and efforts to transform his South Los Angeles community.

He praised Hussle's vision, saying the rapper and community activist saw potential and hope in the Crenshaw neighborhood he grew up in and that lured him into a gang as a young man. Obama's letter states that Hussle "saw a community that even through its flaws taught him to always keep going."

The letter states Hussle's legacy is worth celebrating and Obama says he hopes Hussle's efforts inspire "more good work in Crenshaw and communities like it."

Slum Baby, from left, Yhung To, Lil Cadi PGE and Lo, from the Crenshaw neighborhood of Los Angeles, wear clothing in honor of Nipsey Hussle, whose given name was Ermias Asghedom, at the late rapper's Celebration of Life memorial service on Thursday, April 11, 2019, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. (AP)