LOS ANGELES (FOX 11) - Thousands of fans are expected to pack into the Staples Center Thursday to honor the life of rapper Nipsey Hussle, who was shot and killed in front of a South Los Angeles clothing store he owned in a community he was committed to changing for the better.
"Nipsey Hussle's Celebration of Life" will begin at 10 a.m. and doors open at 8 a.m. Free tickets were offered to the public online, and all were claimed within minutes of becoming available.
It’s the first ceremony of its kind at the Staples Center since Michael Jackson’s memorial service in 2009.
With the anticipated traffic in the downtown Los Angeles area, attendees were encouraged to arrive early.
Those attending the event will be subject to a metal-detector screening and bag inspection. Backpacks will not be permitted, in addition to any bags larger than 14-by-14-by-6 inches.
“Out of respect to the family, cameras and recording devices will not be permitted inside the venue,” Staples Center officials said, adding that violators may be escorted out of the arena.
The ceremony will not be broadcast on screens outside of the Staples Center or in the L.A Live area, and organizers said those without tickets should not come to the area.
Those unable to attend the event can watch the memorial service online or pay their respects to the slain rapper in a procession planned to make its way throughout the South Los Angeles area following the ceremony.
The planned route will move south on Vermont Avenue, head east and circle through the Watts neighborhood before going back west on Century Boulevard to Inglewood.
It will then move through Inglewood, pass Hussle’s The Marathon Clothing store in the Hyde Park area of South Los Angeles and end at the Angelus Funeral Home in the Crenshaw District.
Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said Holder got into some type of personal dispute with the rapper outside the store, then left and returned with a handgun.
Hussle was shot in the head and body and died at a hospital, according to police and the coroner's office. Holder is also accused of wounding two other men during the attack, authorities said.
If convicted as charged, Holder faces life in prison.
Hussle, whose real name was Ermias Asghedom, was an Eritrean-American father of two who was engaged to actress Lauren London.
London broke her silence following the deadly shooting, posting a solo picture of Hussle along with other images that included her, the rapper and their family on her Instagram account Tuesday.
She captioned her photos writing: "I'm lost without you."
Born on Aug. 15, 1985, Hussle said his first passion was music but getting resources was tough after leaving his mother's house at 14 to live with his grandmother. He said he got involved in street life as he tried to support himself, and he joined the gang Rollin 60's Neighborhood Crips as a teenager.
He later transformed himself from a gang member to a rap musician and channeled his success into efforts to help others stay out of gangs. He bought shoes for students, re-paved basketball courts and provided jobs and shelter for the homeless.
In 2017, Hussle helped renovate a Mid-City roller rink that shaped Los Angeles’ early hip-hop scene. He redeveloped a strip mall that housed his Marathon Clothing shop, the same area he used to sell unsigned mixtapes out of the trunk of his car.
"Nipsey Hussle has been a strong partner, a poignantly brilliant musician, and a tireless advocate for South L.A.,” Los Angeles City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson posted on Instagram.
Marqueece Harris-Dawson announced Tuesday that the intersection of Crenshaw Boulevard and West Slauson Avenue, adjacent to where he was killed, will officially be called "Ermias 'Nipsey Hussle' Asghedom Square."
The Los Angeles police chief said he was devastated by the killing of Hussle, who was shot a day before they were to have a meeting about the relationship between police and the inner city.
"It’s cliché to say, work hard, don’t quit. I would really say find yourself and find what’s your, what’s the motivating force behind you? And build around that," the rapper told FOX 11 in 2018.