Thousands of fans attend open-casket memorial for rapper XXXTentacion

Memorial held at BB&T Center from noon to 6 p.m.

SUNRISE, Fla. – Thousands of fans came out Wednesday for an open-casket memorial at the BB&T Center for South Florida rapper XXXTentacion, who was gunned down last week after leaving a motorcycle dealership in Deerfield Beach.

The fans arrived not just from around South Florida, but from across the country.

The long lines outside the BB&T Center in Sunrise formed hours before the doors even opened.

"His music was powerful stuff," X fan Jason Drepin said. "It impacted a lot of lives, so it was really just important to come out here and mourn and stuff. We cared about him a lot."

The wait was well worth it for people who followed the rapper's music for years.

"Once they played his songs and once we were walking there, (it) just got really emotional when it came to that," X fan Jorge Mendieta said. "Everybody around us was just breaking down. It's like we felt all the pain in this community."

The fans were heartbroken over the rapper's killing June 18, during what authorities said was an armed robbery outside of the motorcycle shop. 

No cameras, cellphones or any type of recording devices are allowed inside the BB&T Center during the memorial. 

There was also strict security being enforced by guards at the building, who were making sure everyone was following the rules.

The event was billed as a fan memorial in memory of X, whose real name was Jahseh Onfroy.

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An open casket with the 20-year-old's body will be on display from noon until 6 p.m. Wednesday inside the arena.

"I guess people all had the same idea," Drepin said. "No phones are being allowed, which I guess people wanted to record and stuff."

The rapper's family will be in the building Wednesday, although they have no plans to speak publicly.

"I came to say hi to his mom, his managers and friends, (and) to pay my respects, pay my due and kind of mourn with all of them," family friend Yaprak Asimov said. 

Even though the event feels more like a funeral, the family wants the event to be more a celebration of the rapper's life, because they said his music brought so much joy to people's lives.

About the Author:

Terrell Forney joined Local 10 News in October 2005 as a general assignment reporter. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but a desire to escape the harsh winters of the north brought him to South Florida.