Just one week after 20-year-old rapper XXXTentacion was tragically gunned down in Deerfield Beach, thousands of family and fans formed a line that snaked for blocks outside the BB & T Center to pay their final respects to the slain performer. As it was reported by the Sun-Sentinel, fans from across the country and Florida came together at the Sunrise venue Wednesday for the rapper's six-hour, open-casket viewing.
The gathering was scheduled to start at noon, on Wednesday, June 27, at the 20,000-seat BB&T Center in Sunrise. A tribute video of the rapper played during the first hour of the viewing, as fans, family, and several celebrity guests paid their final respects.
Fans began lining up many hours beforehand to ensure that they were guaranteed entry inside. Once inside fans were forced to get through a maze of ropes and caution tape before they saw XXXTentacion in his casket. His side where he had been shot was not visible. With the line to see the slain rapper wrapping around Flamingo Road, police in golf carts watched the crowd while the musician's song "Sad!" played in the background.
Photographers captured countless fans exiting the Center in tears, including 19-year-old Astrid Acosta, who told the media outlet that her generation lost an important voice with the rapper's passing and that "he had a big impact" in the way people saw depression. Nineteen-year-old Josh Tiernan and Clarence Odums also spoke to the Sentinel about the positive impact the young rapper had on the teens.
"He had a song for every mood," Odums said.
"He was a positive role model," Tiernan added.
The Florida-based rapper, born Jahseh Dwayne Ricardo Onfroy, was born in Plantation and grew up in Broward County, living in Lauderhill for some time before finally moving to Parkland. Onfroy was shot and killed in broad daylight on Monday, June 18, as he drove out of the parking lot of the Riva Motorsports store at Sample Road and Dixie Highway. At the time of his murder, he was just 20 years old. A 22-year-old suspect was reportedly arrested last week and charged with his murder.
Just weeks before Onfroy's death, the troubled rapper drew headlines for his success and a slew of legal problems, including his arrest on charges of domestic violence.
Despite his troubled past, loyal fans said that Onfroy was working to change his ways. "I know he was on the road to recovery," said Gage Watkins, an 18-year-old who recalled seeing the rapper perform.
As reported by Billboard, following his death, XXXTentacion topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart with "Sad!" and his two albums have since landed in the Top 10. The rapper-singer's song originally peaked at No. 7 but jumped back this week from No. 52 to No. 1.