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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 April 2006, 14:03 GMT 15:03 UK
Second death in shot rapper case
Keith Bender
Keith Bender was a former sergeant with the US Army
A man allegedly shot by rapper Proof, shortly before Proof was himself shot and killed, has died in hospital.

Army veteran Keith Bender, 35, had been in a critical condition since being shot in the head at the CCC nightclub in Detroit, Michigan, one week ago.

Police said witnesses reported that Proof shot Mr Bender during a dispute and was then shot himself by Mr Bender's cousin, Mario Etheridge, 28.

Mr Etheridge has been charged with discharging a firearm in a building.

He has also been charged with carrying a concealed weapon. Mr Etheridge has pleaded not guilty to both counts.

'Hip-hop ambassador'

Mr Bender died from a gunshot wound early Tuesday morning, according to a spokeswoman at Detroit's St John Hospital and Medical Center.

Rapper Proof had a small role in the 2002 film 8 Mile
Proof - real name Deshaun Holton - was a close friend of US star Eminem and a member of his rap collective D12.

Eminem has paid tribute to his friend, who acted as best man at his recent remarriage to first wife Kimberly Mathers.

"He will be missed as a friend, father and both the heart and ambassador of Detroit hip-hop," said the singer in a message on the D12 website.

"Proof was funny, he was smart, he was charming. He inspired everyone around him."

The funeral is due to take place on Wednesday.

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