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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 April 2006, 07:39 GMT 08:39 UK
Eminem in tribute to dead rapper
US rapper Eminem
Eminem said the murdered rapper was like a brother to him
Rap star Eminem has paid tribute to his friend and bandmate Proof at the funeral for the rapper, who was shot dead at a nightclub earlier this month.

The superstar joined mourners at a packed church in Detroit. Proof was a member of Eminem's rap group D12 and the star said he was "a people magnet".

He said: "Without Proof, there would be no Eminem, no Slim Shady and no D12."

Proof, whose real name was Deshaun Holton, was one of Eminem's closest friends and best man at his wedding.

The shooting took place on 11 April at a club on Eight Mile Road, made famous in Eminem's autobiographical film 8 Mile.

Teenage friends

Proof originally put forward the idea of forming D12 with friends, including Eminem, who he met at Detroit clothes store Hip-Hop Shop.

Eminem said that when he was 16, Proof had given him new shoes because he was "tired" of seeing the youngster in a "dirty" pair.

After swearing in his tribute, the star apologised for "cussing in church".

A mourner at the funeral
Hundreds of mourners gathered for the funeral in Detroit
Rapper Obie Trice, another member of Eminem's inner circle, used the service to call for an end to violence.

"We're killing each other, and it's about nothing," he said.

Trice was shot at and wounded while driving in Detroit in December.

Keith Bender, 36, who was allegedly shot by Proof shortly before the rapper was himself shot, died in hospital on Monday.

Giving the eulogy, Reverend Wendell Anthony said: "Our community suffers the loss of another young man, who reflects the fact that those whom we love are dying too soon and leaving too quickly.

"The other family has also suffered a loss. Two families - both now grieving, a community now grieving."

Proof released the solo album Searching for Jerry Garcia last year
Despite Eminem's huge solo success, he continued to record with Proof and D12, who released albums D12 World and Devil's Night.

The group scored hits with Purple Hills in 2001 - which had its name changed from Purple Pills to ensure radio play - and My Band in 2004.

Proof made an appearance in 8 Mile and is credited on the award-winning soundtrack.

His best man duties came at Eminem's second wedding to Kim Mathers in January.

Keith Bender's cousin, Mario Etheridge, 28, has been charged with carrying a concealed weapon and discharging a firearm in a building.

He denies the charges and was released on bail on Sunday.

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