NEW YORK - He was one of the most well-respected rappers in hip-hop but Fred the Godson's life ended way too soon due to COVID-19.
On what would have been his 36th birthday, a huge crowd turned out for the street renaming of Leggett Avenue in the Bronx, where Fred the Godson grew up. It's now also known as Frederick 'Fred the Godson' Thomas Avenue.
Celebrities including MTV star Justina Valentine, Fat Joe, Kool DJ Red Alert, Mysonne, and others came out to pay tribute to an artist known for his wit and writing skill. He died last spring.
"I'm thrilled that Fred's name and legacy are both being recognized all over the world and in the neighborhood where he grew up," SiriusXM radio host Sway Calloway said.
Fat Joe said he flew into New York just to attend the event.
"He was one of my best friends on earth, just such a beautiful soul," Fat Joe said. "He was lyrically the best in the world."
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and other elected officials helped make the street naming official.
"COVID stole a treasure from us," Diaz said. "Fred the Godson is a lyrical treasure and a hip hop legend."
Fred was also devoted to his wife Leann Jemmott and their two daughters. In early April, he suffered from asthma and was hospitalized, determined to fight for his life. But by April 23, COVID-19 took his life.
Jemmott said that hearing of other virus deaths stirs up painful memories.
"We were talking on Tuesday. On Thursday Fred is gone, so it's kind of like he was just taken, wow," Jemmott said. "Every time I hear these stories it breaks my heart because I don't think all those people had to die."
She said she misses him every day but is comforted knowing that because of the street naming honor, his memory will live on for generations.
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